The chicken I had planned on making for my Halloween meal was originally going to be a version of pollo alla diavola or devil’s chicken. However, I spent the other morning trimming my rosemary bush and couldn’t let the rosemary to go to waste, so I made a small change. The on again, off again rain also discouraged my grilling outdoors. Then, a loaf of frozen Italian bread fell out of the freezer on my foot and that’s when the recipe went in an entirely different direction. What resulted was some good old fashioned comfort food, perfect for All Hallow’s Eve. The skin is crispy, the meat is flavorful and the bread toasts and then soaks up all the juices making the stuffing super delicious.
Skillet Roasted Chicken with Stuffing
1 5 lb chicken
3 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped pecans (or another nut)
1/2 loaf of French or Italian bread, cut into 1 inch pieces
Butterfly chicken. With the side of your knife, mix the rosemary and garlic together to form a paste. Use your fingers to gently lift the skin from the breasts and thighs. Stuff the garlic and rosemary under the skin. Sprinkle salt all over chicken, cover loosely and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Use a large cast iron skillet big enough to hold the bird. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F while warming up the skillet on the stove top. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and brush all over the top of the chicken. Lay the chicken, breast side down, and cook on the stove top for 10 minutes. Remove to a platter.
Melt the remaining butter and sauté the onions over medium heat for 10 minutes until they’ve become soft and translucent. Add in the celery and cook five minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in chicken stock and pecans. Stir well and then make a single layer of the vegetables in the bottom. Carefully place chicken, breast side up into skillet. Arrange the bread pieces around the chicken.
Drop the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and place the skillet on the middle rack in the oven. Roast for about an hour or until the thighs register 175 degrees F. Remove chicken to a platter to rest. Stir bread with vegetables and pan juices. Cover and allow to sit and absorb the juices for about 10 minutes.
Carve chicken and place a generous serving of stuffing on each plate.