Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicken al Mattone...

Al mattone??? With a Brick of course! The cover recipe of the September edition of Bon Appetit magazine immediately caught my eye. The chicken looked incredible and when I flipped through to find the recipe, I realize it was cooked in an unusual way...under a brick!

I have NEVER cooked an entire chicken (although I have cooked a whole turkey for Christmas dinner with great success) and it has been something I've wanted to do for a while. So I bought an organic chicken from the farmers market and then set out in search of a brick.

I remembered seeing a random brick on the side of my house one day while I was cutting the grass (yes, I cut my own grass!) and sure enough it was still there. I scrubbed it really well and covered it with foil. Ready to cook!

The whole process is really simple...assemble a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, and garlic; rub it all over the chicken; let it marinate overnight (or not!); season with S&P and cook!

There is a little prep work involved with the chicken have to cut the backbone out. And to do this it really helps to know the difference between the backbone and breast bone...and apparently I do not! I cut the breast bone out and then realizing my mistake went ahead and cut out the backbone too. It actually ended up working out better in the end. The chicken halves fit much better in my pan.

As I implied above, I didn't let the chicken marinate overnight or at all for that matter. I imagine doing so would only improve on the flavor, but if you don't have time, don't bother! One thing to note, you must use a skillet that can go from stove top to oven. My 14" All-Clad fry pan worked perfectly.

The results were incredible. The brick pressed the chicken onto the pan, creating a deliciously crispy skin. The meat was juicy, tender, and flavorful. It was wonderful by itself, but I also added the chicken to salads and sandwiches all week.

This recipe is a keeper...I'll definitely stick with the method but play around with the flavors in the future.

Chicken al Mattone
adapted from Bon Appetit

makes about 5 5-oz serving

1 4 pound whole chicken, backbone cut away and discarded, rinsed, and patted dry
4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
salt and pepper
brick wrapped in aluminum foil

  • Place butterflied chicken, skin side down, on rimmed baking sheet or dish. Mix 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoons oil, rosemary, and garlic in small bowl. Rub mixture all over both sides of chicken and under skin. Cover and chill overnight (or not!)
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
    Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 7 minutes (do not turn chicken over). Place foil-wrapped brick (or cast-iron skillet) crosswise atop chicken; roast in oven 30 minutes. Remove brick and turn chicken over; return brick to chicken and continue to roast until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced, about 15 minutes longer. Remove brick and transfer chicken to platter. Drizzle chicken with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

    Per serving (5 oz of white meat, no skin) - 278 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 1.5 g carbohydrates, o g fiber, 42 g protein (exchanges: 2 fat, 6 protein; WW points: 6)
    Notes - Obviously, if you eat the dark meat and/or the skin the calories and fat grams will increase; try to stick with a 4 - 5 ounce serving...about the size of an iPhone


  1. This looks fabulous! I have a brick that I use to make paninis. I'm so cheap haha!

  2. Looks wonderful! I got this issue and thought that the chicken looked incredible, too. But I haven't had a chance to really look at it yet, so I didn't know about the brick part. Neat!

  3. Amazing! WE can find cooking utensils in our own back yard. Now I know what to do with all those extra bricks from our patio. Who knew!?
    Great recipe.

  4. Wonderful job! We have a post on our blog about spatchcocking a game hen, which I think is what you had to do here with the chicken. A well cooked chicken is so delicious.