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Roast Chicken Under a Brick with Kale

Roast Chicken Under a Brick with Kale

Serves: 4 to 6

Hands On Time: 

Total Time: 


1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large bunch green curly kale, stemmed and chopped 
Juice of 1/2 lemon


Using heavy-duty kitchen shears, cut the backbone from the chicken. Snip the breast bone, and then flip the chicken so it is skin side-up on a cutting board. Press down firmly on the breast to press the chicken flat. Twist the wing tips behind the breasts to secure. Using paper towels, pat the chicken very dry and place on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub 2 tablespoons of the salt all over the skin and underside of the chicken. Let sit at room temperature, skin side-up, for 45 minutes.

When you're ready to roast the chicken, heat the oven to 475 degrees. Wrap the bottom of a heavy skillet or Dutch oven with aluminum foil.

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Let heat for 5 minutes. Place the chicken, skin side-down, in the hot skillet. Place the foil-lined skillet on top of the chicken and press firmly to flatten the chicken into the skillet. Let cook until the skin begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer to the oven and roast until the skin is deeply golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil-lined skillet and carefully flip the chicken so that it is skin side-up. Continue to roast until the breast meat registers 150 degrees, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, carefully pour the drippings in the pan into a small bowl. Skim off about 1 tablespoon of fat from the drippings and place in the hot skillet. Discard any additional fat in the bowl, reserving any juices.

Place the skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the kale and the reserved juices. Season with salt and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the kale is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Carve the chicken and serve with the kale.

Photo: Kate Williams

About the recipe

By butterflying the chicken and roasting it at a high temperature, you can actually get roast chicken on the table on a weeknight. 

If you're short on time, you can skip the salting and resting step. Salt the chicken and sear it immediately.

This recipe first appeared in the story, "Here's what happened when I swapped by stainless steel for a Smithey skillet."

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