This recipe would make our previously perfect roast chicken green with envy.
It’s a perfect two-night meal. Night one, carve it up and eat it fresh, drizzled with a bit of leftover chimichurri. The chicken roasts up moist and tender, with the sauce adding a flavorful kick.
Then, night two, shred up the leftovers and make soft chicken tacos, drizzled with more chimichurri sauce and topped with fresh cabbage for crunch. The shredded meat could also be used as a filling for enchiladas, simmered in some tortilla soup, or in any other zesty recipe where the vinegary tang of the chimichurri would be an added bonus.
Chimichurri is normally a parsley-based sauce, not unlike a pesto. Except with parsley in place of basil, no cheese, and an extra kick of vinegar. I also throw in some oregano and some red pepper flakes, because, why not?
I personally like my chimichurri best made with half cilantro and half parsley, and I’m sure any cilantro-fan out there would agree with me. Haters gonna hate, so feel free to use all parsley if you’re one of those who can’t stand cilantro (it’s ok, no judgement, I feel the same way about dill and cardamon).
Roasting a chicken in a large cast iron skillet is ideal, no messing with giant roasting pans (save that for Thanksgiving). Most average size roasting chickens will easily fit into a 12-inch cast iron skillet, and smaller ones even work in a 10-inch one.
Stick the skillet in the oven while it is preheating so the skillet will be nice and hot when you finally add the chicken (just wait until you hear the sizzle). It is normal for this method of cooking to produce a bit of smoke, so turn on your air vent and try not to salivate too much at the delicious smell.
Additionally, the chimichurri sauce itself is incredible versatile. This may be our favorite use for it, but it’d be amazing used as both a marinade and serving sauce for steak or fish. Or how about chicken wings? Honestly I’d take this zesty green awesomesauce over sticky sweet BBQ any day.
Awesomesauce. Ha. I’m not usually one for modern slang, but this is one situation where this silly word actually applies, because it really is a sauce that is awesome.
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 large shallot
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (3-4 pound) chicken
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a 10 or 12-inch cast iron skillet to preheat in the oven.
- In a food processor pulse cilantro, parsley, oregano, garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper until roughly chopped. Add vinegar and olive oil and pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Place chicken on a plate or tray. Spoon about 1/3 of chimichurri sauce, rubbing sauce evenly all over skin of bird.
- Carefully place the chicken, breast side up, in the hot skillet and return to oven. Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Continue to roast until chicken is golden brown. After about 30 minutes or so check the temperature. Brush a bit more sauce on the bird and return to the oven until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. Depending on the size of your bird it may be done already, or you may need to cook it for another 15 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a platter, tipping the chicken to let the juices flow out into the pan before moving it. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving and serving, with remaining chimichurri sauce drizzled on top.