I've long been intrigued by the idea of cooking chicken "under a brick". I was never inspired to try my hand at it, however, until I realized last night that it was 6:30pm, we were both starving, and roasting that Rocky Jr. in the fridge wouldn't get us to the table until at least 8pm.
Necessity being the mother of invention and all that, I proceeded to rummage around the kitchen and deck looking for a weight heavy enough to pull this off. The two pieces from my Le Creuset Multi-Pot, nestled inside my 4.5 quart Dutch oven, worked nicely.
As I was pulling the chicken out of the oven (40 minutes, people, 40 minutes!), the doorbell rang, and my awesome, wonderful neighbor J was standing there with a bowl full of tomatoes and peaches she'd picked earlier in Brentwood. As the bird rested, I threw together what turned out to be an incredibly delicious salad -- wedges of peach and heirloom tomato, chopped basil, good sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, drizzled lightly with olive oil.
Summer never tasted so good.
Chicken Under a Brick
- 1 3lb bird, the fresher the better, and free-range is best
- 4T + 2T olive oil
- 1 medium onion, slivered
- 1 clove garlic, minced fine
- 1t sweet paprika
- Several sprigs fresh rosemary, half of them de-stemmed & chopped fine
- Several springs fresh thyme, half of them de-stemmed & chopped fine
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees*.
- Butterfly the bird by removing the backbone, and pressing flat. Cut off the first two joints of the wings, and the last joint of both drumsticks to prevent burning.
- In a large, flat pan, heat the first 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the onion. Allow to cook a few minutes as you season the chicken.
- Make a paste of the remaining olive oil, garlic, paprika, chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, and salt & pepper.
- Rub all over the bird, on both sides, coating well.
- Tuck the remaining sprigs of rosemary and thyme under the skin, being careful not to tear it.
- Turn the stove up to medium-high, and when good and hot, set the chicken, breast-down, in the pan. Set a heavy weight atop the chicken to press it flat.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes -- you'll know when it's ready because the smell from the kitchen will cause your husband to begin drooling.
- Move the pan (with weights) to the lower rack of the oven, and allow to cook for another 15 or so minutes.
- Carefully remove the weights from the chicken, and gently turn it over.
- Continue cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 160 degrees. Alternately, look for the juices to run completely clear. The skin at this point should be a gorgeous golden-brown, and exceedingly crispy.
- Remove chicken from the oven, tent with foil for 5 minutes, and cut into quarters (this will be very easy to do).
- Serve with salad or roasted potatoes, as you choose.
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