Mary Ann Sabo, owner of Sabo PR, learned to cook in high school while working as a house manager for a women’s group home. “Six meals during my weekend shift for the nine of us plus the full-time house manager and her family — and I learned to cook large and utilitarian meals,” she said. A teaching job with Ferris State University connected her with a group of faculty members who also loved to cook. “We were in one another’s kitchens almost every weekend, and I had the chance to watch and learn from some really wonderful cooks,” she said.
Today, Sabo said cooking helps her relax after long days running her business. She shared her roast chicken recipe, which she said pairs well with roasted carrots since the two can be cooked in the same oven and take about 90 minutes from the fridge to the table.
Roast chicken ingredients
1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds
2-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
Fresh-cracked black pepper
Coarse-ground sea salt
1 lemon, quartered
Roast chicken instructions
Remove the giblets from the chicken and lay it on a cutting board. To spatchcock the chicken, or flatten the bird, you’ll need to put some muscle into this — starting at the tailbone, cut down one side of the spine and then the other, discarding the spine. Using both your hands, force the leg and thigh sections down to the cutting board until you hear the breastbone crack. The chicken should lay relatively flat. Pat the chicken dry.
Liberally rub about 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil on both sides of the bird. Season both sides of the bird to taste with pepper and salt. Rub the Herbes de Provence (or a combination of mixed dried herbs) on the skin side of the bird.
Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Heat the cast iron skillet over high heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat for another 2-3 minutes then add the bird, skin side down. Tuck the lemon wedges under the bird. Cover with an oven-proof lid slightly smaller than the skillet that you can press down to flatten the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, flip the bird, replace the lid and press down again. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Put the skillet (lid still on) into the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and roast for another 10 minutes or until the bird reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer. Let stand 5-10 minutes, slice and serve.