Chicken cooked under a brick

Chicken cooked under a brick

Pollo al mattone

By
From
Florentine
Serves
4
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

This easy alternative to roast chicken supposedly dates to ancient Etruscan times. The marinated, butterflied chicken is cooked in an ovenproof frying pan under the weight of a brick (or try some heavy casserole dishes) to flatten it for even cooking and crisp skin. Chilli powder can also be added to the marinade, which makes this dish pollo alla diavola, named for the devilish heat of the spice. This chicken is also perfectly suited to cooking on a barbecue.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 whole chicken, about 1 kg
3 garlic cloves, sliced
10 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced and zested

Method

  1. Butterfly the chicken by cutting along the backbone, removing it along with the wishbone and then flattening with the palm of your hand (alternatively, ask your butcher to do this). Disjoint the legs to flatten out further. Season the chicken generously inside and out with salt and pepper.
  2. Make a marinade by combining the garlic, sage, rosemary, olive oil and lemon juice and zest. Rub this all over the chicken and under the skin and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. Prepare a clean brick by wrapping it in a double layer of aluminium foil. Remove the chicken from the marinade, (make sure to remove any garlic slices on the surface to avoid them burning). Rub the chicken with more olive oil.
  5. Select an ovenproof frying pan that’s large enough to hold the chicken. Sear the chicken over medium–high heat, skin side down, with the brick placed on top. Cook for 15 minutes. Carefully take off the brick (it will be hot), turn the chicken over, then replace the brick (using a side that wasn’t previously touching the raw chicken) and cook the underside of the chicken for 15 minutes. Remove the brick, then finish cooking the chicken for a further 15 minutes.
  6. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Note

  • If you are using a slightly larger chicken, you may need to let it finish in the oven longer. A good test is to pierce the inside of the thigh with a skewer, if the juice runs clear, it is ready, if it is pink it still needs some more time.
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