- 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
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).