Chicken: Chicken Cooked Under Bricks

posted by mamaSue 01-04-100 5:20 AM

Chicken Cooked Under Bricks (Pollo al Mattone)

1 free-range roasting chicken (4 pounds)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the chicken breast side down on a flat surface. With a pair of poultry shears, split the bird lengthwise along the backbone. Open it flat, and press down with the heel of your hand to flatten completely. Turn the chicken skin side up, and, with a sharp knife, make slits in the skin near the tail and tuck the wing tips in to secure. The bird should be as flat as possible to ensure even cooking.

In a 12-inch skillet, or one large enough to hold the chicken flat, heat the oil over moderately high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, place the chicken skin side down in the skillet. Put a lid or another skillet over the chicken, then weight it down with a 10-pound weight. (Use bricks or heavy rocks). Cook over medium-high heat until the skin is golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Remove the lid and weights. Using tongs so that you do not pierce the meat, turn the chicken over, and season generously with salt and pepper. Replace the lid and weights, and cook for 12 minutes more. To test for doneness, pierce the thigh with a skewer. The chicken is done when the juices run clear.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and place it at an angle against the edge of an overturned plate, with its head down and tail in the air. (This heightens the flavor by allowing the juices to flow down through the breast meat).

Cover the chicken loosely with foil. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes. (If desired, keep the chicken warm by placing it in a warm oven.)

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