Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Apples and Cabbage

published Oct 27, 2020
Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Apples and Cabbage

This fall-inspired recipes result is tender apples, savory chicken with crisp skin, and browned cabbage deeply flavored with all the juices from the chicken.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

When I take a whole roasted chicken out of the oven, I get such a feeling of accomplishment even though it really doesn’t take much more effort than cooking pieces of chicken. The only real difference is that a whole chicken takes longer, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing — in fact, it means you can toss in other things to roast at the same time.

This fall-inspired chicken starts with putting thick slabs of cabbage in a skillet, plopping a whole thyme-rubbed chicken on top, and roasting it until golden-brown. Apples are added halfway through, and the result is tender apples, savory chicken with crisp skin, and browned cabbage deeply flavored with all the juices from the chicken. It’s only five ingredients and some salt and pepper, and the result is a satisfying one-pan dinner.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Butter and Salt Make for Flavorful Chicken

This dish starts with seasoning a whole chicken with a combination of dried thyme, salt, and pepper. While this can be done right before roasting, you can also do this up to three days ahead — essentially dry-brining the chicken. This extra time lets the salt deeply penetrate the meat and help keep it juicy when it’s in the hot oven. I also like to tuck in little cubes of butter under the skin, which melt and keep the meat moist; the resulting melted butter also mingles with the juices from the chicken.

A Satisfying One-Pan Dinner

Thick slabs of cabbage serve as a bed for the chicken, both ensuring it doesn’t stick to the pan and that it soaks up all the tasty drippings from the chicken. Cut cabbage parallel to the core into slabs that are at least one-inch thick to make sure they hold up to the long cooking time and don’t fall apart as easily.

Apples are the last ingredient, adding some sweetness and a nice contrast to the cabbage and chicken. Adding them halfway through the roasting time means that they get a chance to cook through but don’t end up mushy and falling apart.

When the chicken’s golden-brown and cooked through, take it out to rest before carving so you don’t burn your fingers and the meat has some time to redistribute the juices. Before taking it out of the pan, tilt it up slightly (stick a wooden spoon in the neck end up to help you maneuver it) and let all the juices in the cavity run out. While it’s resting, throw the skillet of cabbage and apples back in the oven so they get a chance to brown and caramelize a bit. Serve this fall-inspired dinner with a crisp white wine and maybe a little crusty bread to round things out.

Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Apples and Cabbage

This fall-inspired recipes result is tender apples, savory chicken with crisp skin, and browned cabbage deeply flavored with all the juices from the chicken.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/2

    large or 1 small red or green cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried thyme

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1

    (about 4-pound) whole chicken

  • 2

    medium Honeycrisp, Gala, or Fuji apples

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 450ºF. Meanwhile, prepare the cabbage and chicken.

  2. Cut 1/2 large or 1 small cabbage into at least 1-inch thick slabs. Arrange cut-side down in a single layer in a 10 or 12-inch cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet or frying pan, trimming or cutting them as needed to fit in a single, tight layer. Season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

  3. Mix 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper together in a small bowl. Cut 3 tablespoons unsalted butter into small pieces. Scatter about 1/3 of the butter pieces over the cabbage.

  4. Remove and discard any giblets inside a whole chicken, then pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Gently run your fingers between the skin and meat over the breasts and legs to loosen and separate without tearing. Tuck the remaining pieces of butter under the skin. Season the outside of the chicken all over with the thyme mixture. Place the chicken breast-side up on the cabbage, then tuck the wing tips under the body.

  5. Roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, peel 2 medium apples. Quarter and core the apples for 8 total pieces.

  6. Remove the pan from the oven. Tuck the apple pieces around and a little bit under the chicken. Roast until the chicken is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165ºF, 30 to 40 minutes more.

  7. Remove the pan from the oven. Tilt the chicken slightly (I like to insert the handle of a wooden spoon into the neck cavity to tilt it) so the juices in the cavity run out into the pan. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, nestle the apple pieces into the cabbage. Return the pan to the oven and roast until the cabbage is browned, about 15 minutes more.

  8. Carve the chicken and serve with the cabbage and apples.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The chicken can be seasoned and the butter tucked under the skin up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until ready to roast.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.