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Roast Chicken with Tarragon

(Photo credit: Doug Young; food styling by Cameron Prather)

Sag Harbor mixed-media artist Dan Rizzie, whose renowned, abstract collages sometimes incorporate graphic and bold images of birds, knows a bit about chickens, too.

Iacono chickens from East Hampton are top-notch,” the artist states, “I believe in buying good, healthy, free range, no antibiotics or ‘personal problems’ chickens.”

With so many variations of preparing a roast chicken, the plated goal should certainly be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, which is where Rizzie’s tried-and-true cooking approach excels.

(Photo credit: Doug Young)

“It’s an old recipe that’s been going around for years,” recalls the artist. “I first got it from a friend in Dallas who got it from Christopher Kimball [of] America’s Test Kitchen. Seems that each person that tries it tweaks it and makes it their own. This is my version that has been foolproof and delicious for as many years as I can remember.”

So delicious in fact that the recipe was selected by food guru Florence Fabricant for The Ladies Village Improvement Society Cookbook: Eating and Entertaining in East Hampton. Roast chicken with tarragon is the main course in the book’s menu chapter, “Supper by the Fire,” which nods to the hot pan method used.

“I usually leave the cast-iron skillet in the oven [prior to roasting the chicken] for at least 30 minutes at 450° F,” explains Rizzie. “When you put the chicken in breast side up it sizzles and starts cooking immediately. You don’t open the oven again for an hour, turning it off halfway through. It’s quite amazing …perfect crispy brown skin on the outside and moist on the inside.”

If you’d like some more Flo Fab-approved recipes, click the link above to grab your copy directly from LVIS, or head over to BookHampton, who proudly support the improvement of your roast chicken.

(Recipe reprinted from The Ladies Village Improvement Society Cookbook: Eating and Entertaining in East Hampton by Florence Fabricant, Rizzoli New York.)

Roast Chicken with Tarragon

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 7 minutes
Serves 4 people


  • 1 tbsp kosher salt or fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3-4 lb chicken preferably local or organic
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves minced
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice


  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Place cast-iron skillet in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Mix the salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Thoroughly rinse the chicken and pat down with paper towels.
  • Tie the legs of the chicken together and tuck the wingtips behind the breast.
  • Rub all over with olive oil. Reserving about a teaspoon of the salt and pepper mixture, rub the rest all over the chicken, inside and out.
  • Using over mitts or a heavy folded towel, carefully place the chicken breast-side up, in the hot skillet in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the chicken inside it for another 30 minutes, undisturbed. Do not open the door during this time. An instant-read thermometer insert into the breast should read 150°F, the thigh should register 165°F, and the skin should be crispy and nicely browned.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and place on the stove. Transfer chicken to a cutting board (have a warmed serving platter at the ready).
  • Skim all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan and discard. Turn the burner to medium and add the shallot, cooking for a minute or two until softened and just starting to brown.
  • Stir in the stock and mustard, scraping up any browned bits in the pan. Cook for a few more minutes until reduced to about one cup. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Cut the chicken into 8 or 10 sections and transfer to the warm platter. Tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Return the skillet to the burner and, over very low heat, whisk in the butter bit by bit. Stir in the tarragon and lemon juice. Season with some of the reserved salt and pepper if needed. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.