Pollo al Mattone

So last post I made a vague reference to the fact that I finally had a working stovetop. And it’s true after months, and I mean MONTHS (about 6 to be exact) of using nothing but a catering burner and a toaster oven we finally have a fully functioning stove / oven. Now I won’t go into the whole story about how when I moved in with the boy I took it upon myself to replace his outdated 1950’s fully functioning stove with an updated model I found on Craigslist. Suffice it to say, some things are on Craigslist really cheap for a reason. So it goes without saying, if you are going to buy something from a total stranger make sure you test it fully before bringing it home or at least get a money back guarantee.

This also proves that there is never an excuse for not making a home cooked meal. Every single recipe on this site (with the exception of my first post and the most recent soup recipe) was prepared on this single burner catering stove or a toaster oven. You don’t have to have an amazing kitchen stocked full of modern appliances and top of the line pots and pans to cook great tasting and healthy recipes for your family. All it takes is a little creativity and a passion for eating right.

One of things I missed dearly over those long 6 months was Roast Chicken; the darn thing was just too tall for my little toaster oven! Amazingly simple to make, but so flavorful! This recipe is the Italian’s spin on the old favorite. Pollo al Mattone, or Chicken Under a Brick, is an ancient method of cooking that involves removing the backbone of the bird and then weighing it down with a brick to produce a tender moist chicken with the crispiest skin I’ve ever had.

* Note if you don’t have a brick on hand, this dish can also be made using a cast iron skillet to help weigh down the bird.

Chicken Under a Brick
Serves 4

1 3lb roasting chicken, backbone removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 spring fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Red pepper flakes

Start by removing the backbone from the chicken (here’s a quick how to link) and salt and pepper the bird on both sides. Combine the olive oil, rosemary, garlic and juice of half a lemon in a small bowl then pour over the chicken. Massage the mixture into the bird making sure to cover both sides well and getting under the skin. Transfer the chicken to a large Ziploc bag and place in the fridge for at least 45 minutes. Best results if left overnight.

Remove the chicken from the fridge and preheat your oven to 425º. Heat a large stainless steel oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Once hot add the chicken to the pan, skin side down, and place either a foil wrapped brick or cast iron skillet on top. Cook for 7 minutes. Transfer the pan with the chicken and brick to the oven and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, flip the chicken over, replace the brick and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a large platter. Squeeze the remaining half of your lemon over the top and sprinkle with parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve with a big green salad and some crusty bread for soaking up all the juices.


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