This is the best roast chicken I’ve ever made. The three essentials for a good roast chicken recipe include crispy skin and perfectly cooked breasts and thighs. It’s usually difficult to achieve all three at the same time because the thighs usually take longer to cook. Using a cast iron skillet and starting the roasting at a very high temperature help to achieve all three. Cast iron gets very hot and distributes heat evenly so the part of the chicken (the thighs) that is touching the pan cooks more quickly than the part thats not touching the pan directly (the breasts) which is what you want so that they are done cooking at about the same time.
I let the chicken come to room temperature before I seasoned the skin with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and butter. Putting the chicken in the oven when it’s already at room temperature will help it cook more evenly. If you have time, you can also leave it uncovered in the refrigerator for a day which will help dry out the skin and make it even more crispy when you roast it. It’s not necessary for a weeknight dinner situation but it’s something that’s good to remember once Thanksgiving comes around when you’re roasting a turkey.
To make this a one-pot meal, I like to add potatoes, onions, carrots and celery to the pan. They’ll cook in about the same time as the chicken and also absorb the butter, seasoning and chicken juices. Having just one pan to wash doesn’t hurt.