One Pan Saffron Lemon Chicken with Roasted Vegetables in Cast Iron

This is a foolproof one-pan dish, and it looks so impressive. It’s easy to keep the basic recipe and adjust the flavorings to anything you like. Best of all, roasted meat doesn’t create greasy smoke when there is a layer of root veggies in the bottom of the pan. You’ll need a cast iron skillet wide enough to hold a whole chicken (about 10-14 inches) and deep enough to hold a layer of chopped root vegetables. If your skillet isn’t seasoned, grease it with lard or flaxseed oil before cooking.
December 28, 2015

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch saffron (about 20 threads or ⅛ teaspoon)
  • 1 cup hot tap water
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3-6 cups chopped hard vegetables, depending on your pan. (I used potatoes, onions, and parsnips for this recipe. Carrots,celery,beets,turnips,rutabagas,large garlic cloves,sweet potatoes,winter squash and celeriac have all worked well in past recipes.)
  • 1 Meyer lemon, sliced into rings (or substitute a regular lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin
  • 1 tablespoon flavored olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ cup cream (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

Stir the pinch of saffron into the cup of hot water and let sit at least 30 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to the center and preheat to 450°. If frozen, make sure the chicken is completely thawed. Remove any giblets from the bird cavity. (I usually save these to make chicken stock in the crock pot after dinner, along with the chicken carcass.) Rub bird with salt and pepper.

Chop the root vegetables into 1-2 inch pieces and layer them in the bottom of the cast iron skillet until they are a little less than 2 inches deep in most places. Salt to taste, add cumin, flavored olive oil. Toss.

Place chicken breast side down on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with saffron water and threads. Top chicken with lemon rings and put the skillet in the oven.

Immediately turn down the oven temperature to 400°. Roast 70 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 165°. The vegetables nearly always come out perfectly but if I think they’re too soft I’ll put them in a bowl with ½ cup of cream, mash them, and drizzle them with flavored oil (such as rosemary or lemon).

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Ingredients

  • 1 pinch saffron (about 20 threads or ⅛ teaspoon)
  • 1 cup hot tap water
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3-6 cups chopped hard vegetables, depending on your pan. (I used potatoes, onions, and parsnips for this recipe. Carrots,celery,beets,turnips,rutabagas,large garlic cloves,sweet potatoes,winter squash and celeriac have all worked well in past recipes.)
  • 1 Meyer lemon, sliced into rings (or substitute a regular lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin
  • 1 tablespoon flavored olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ cup cream (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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