A walk-away roast chicken can’t get much easier, so with the set-it-and-forget-it method in mind, we used the spice cabinet to simplify the shopping, too. We doubled the volume of seasonings—citrusy coriander and lemon zest along with fennel seeds—so the chicken would be fully coated with flavor. Roasting at a moderately high temperature ensured fully rendered fat and slightly crispy skin. Roasting the chicken directly in a skillet also gave us a chance to catch any seasoned drippings beneath. After a quick skim off the top to remove excess fat, the drippings were easily turned into a pan sauce to pour over the carved bird.
We developed this recipe in a stainless-steel skillet, but a 12-inch cast-iron skillet will also work. If using table salt, reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon.
- 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 (3½- to 4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- ½ cup water
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine fennel seeds, coriander, lemon zest, salt, granulated garlic, and pepper in a bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Transfer chicken, breast side down, to 12-inch oven-safe skillet and rub exposed side with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with half of the spice mixture. Flip chicken breast side up and rub exposed side with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with remaining spice mixture.
- Transfer skillet to oven and roast until breast registers 160 degrees and drumsticks/thighs register 175 degrees, about 1 hour. Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Reserve drippings in skillet.
- While the chicken rests, dissolve cornstarch in water. Carefully skim as much fat as possible from drippings and discard. Add cornstarch mixture to drippings and place over medium-high heat, whisking to scrape up any browned bits. Cook until mixture is boiling and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Off heat, whisk in lemon juice. (this step can be omitted if you don’t use cornstarch on Passover).
- Carve chicken and serve, passing sauce separately.