Wish Upon A Dish: Chicken Under A Brick

May 22, 2013

Chicken Under A Brick

I have grilled spatch-cocked chickens quite a few times. It's an excellent way to expose the skin to the hot grill while allowing it to cook evenly. Image, a crispy, moist tender whole chicken in thirty minutes.

To The Nudge, it's all about the skin. For me it's having the breast and dark meat cooked completely in the same time.
What if it's raining or you can't grill? This is where the Italians are, once again, genius with foods.

You butterfly the roaster, start it on the stove, skin side down, place a pan over the smaller skillet on the chicken and place weight in that pan (like a brick or a heavy cast iron pan), brown for 10 minutes, remove the weighted pan and place a few slices of lemons in the cavity. Replace the weighed pan and roast in the oven for another 20-25 minutes.
My new favorite way to dress a roasted chicken is with a simple olive oil, white wine, lemon and chicken broth drizzle.

I found these teeny-tiny baby potatoes that I started roasting in the oven while it was preheating. The potatoes and the chicken were done at the same time. So far as easy as it goes.
While they were roasting I steamed a bunch of green beans for 7 minutes. Toss them in the drizzle, serve with the chicken and the potatoes.

This can also be done on the grill. Set up a two zone grill. Coals in one half, a drip pan in the other.
Place the skin side down directly on the coal side and crisp the skin. It may flare up here and there but just move it around until you can see the edges getting a nice brown color. Flip it over, skin side up and move it over on top of the drip pan. Cover the grill and leave it be for at least 25-30 minutes (depends on hot hot the coals still are).The beauty of grilling with this technique vs. the beer-can chicken is that it cooks in half the time and if you are like us and grill almost every night in the spring-summer-fall, there are those nights when dinner in 75 just won't cut it.

The other reason for spatch-cock grilling is the ability to stuff all kinds of good herbs under the skin where it stays there during the cooking time. The Nudge loved the herb butter under the skin this time around.

Chicken Under a Brick
makes 1 roasted chicken

* 1 whole chicken, backbone removed and breast bone broken
* 1 tablespoon butter & olive oil
* 1 large clove garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
* salt & pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon both dried rosemary and thyme leaves
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 6 lemon slices
* 1/4 cup lemon juice

Pre-heat your oven to 400°.
Make a marinade of the butter, garlic, zest, salt & pepper, rosemary and thyme leaves.
With your finger carefully separate the skin from the meat and spread the marinade as far as you can without breaking the skin.
Let it sit for at least 30 minutes but up to 1 hour.

Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay the marinated chicken in the pan, skin side down. Oil the bottom of another large saute pan, lay it on top of the chickens and place bricks or weights in the second saute pan. Cook the chicken until the skin starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Place the whole shootin' match in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and remove the weights and the top pan. At this point the skin should be lovely and dark brown. If the skin has no color, slide it under the broiler for 5 minutes.
Check the chicken for doneness, it should be cooked through but still succulent and juicy. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve on a large platter.

Remove the excess fat from the saute pan and add the white wine. Cook over high heat until the wine has reduced by more than half. Add a splash of chicken broth (optional), a drizzle of olive oil, the roasted lemon slices from the chicken and the lemon juice, season with salt and reduce by half.

Arrange chicken on serving plates or a platter. Spoon the juices over.
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