Glad you liked it! I hope it’s clear that this recipe actually doesn’t take that much prep time, only some advance planning. I’ve gotten the seasoning part down to about 20 minutes, and I put the entire chicken directly in the baking pan/rack in the fridge. The next day I just plop the whole thing in a preheated oven and can fix the rest of dinner or just enjoy the smell as it roasts!
I generally trust advice from Mark Bittman about cooking — I think the idea here is to use the very high emissivity of cast iron (relative to other cooking vessels) to apply more heat to the thighs of the chicken. I like roasting on a rack with convection heat, though, since it results in crispy skin on the thighs as well as the breast.