Thursday, May 9, 2013

Crisp Brick-fried Chicken with Rosemary, Thyme and Garlic

Here’s a recipe I’ve been meaning to share for the longest time, (read from back when my photo taking skills were really pathetic - Sorry!) but other more pressing dishes got in the way.  Which is rather ironic since this recipe calls for a great deal of pressing, so to speak, down on the chicken, so there is hardly a more pressing recipe.  Yeah, okay.  You are probably not laughing like I am laughing but that’s all right.  As our friend Jamie Oliver says, “You’ll be laughing” when you eat this.  Because it is delicious!  It is also perfect for warmer months when you are craving roasted chicken but can't bear to turn the oven on.

1 chicken
Olive oil
3-4 long springs of fresh rosemary
1 small bunch of thyme
Sea salt
Black pepper
8-10 whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup or 60ml dry white wine

Spatchcock or butterfly the chicken by removing the backbone.  That is to say, put your bird breast down on a cutting board and then, using a knife or poultry shears, cut up either side of the backbone and remove it.  (Throw it in the freezer bag of bones and castoff vegetable bits you are saving to, one day, turn into stock.  Okay, start one now.  Go ahead, we'll wait and you won't regret it.)

Turn the chicken over and press firmly down on the breast to flatten it out as much as possible.  Use two hands and put your weight into it.  I did.  But I couldn’t take a photo and press at the same time.

Pull your rosemary and thyme leaves off the thick stems (fine stems can be chopped up along with the leaves) and chop them up.

Next sprinkle the bird liberally with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Press the chopped leaves all around on the chicken.

The inside

The skin side

If you have the time, let the chicken hang around with the seasonings for as long as you can before you have to cook it.  If it’s longer than an hour, go ahead and refrigerate it but it’s best, but not essential, if you can get it back to room temperature before cooking.

Start the cooking process by heating a little olive oil in in a non-stick pan.  Put the chicken in, skin side UP.

Weigh it down with a heavy iron skillet or another skillet with weight added by inserting cans or bricks to the skillet.  As you can see, I used an extra skillet and a kettle filled with water.  (Years back I watched the Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith, make a similar dish and he used bricks covered in foil laid directly on the chicken.  Hence the name but whatever you’ve got works, as long as it’s heavy and helps flatten the bird out.)

Clean pan on top of the chicken. Full kettle in the clean pan.

Cook the chicken until it browns, about 15 minutes over a medium heat.

Remove the weight and turn your chicken over, breast side down. Put the weight/s back on.   Sprinkle the garlic cloves around the bird and cook until the skin is crispy and brown.

The inside again

I set my timer for 12 minutes on this side but the bird wasn’t quite cooked when it rang.  The garlic was looking on the verge of burning though, so I scooped it out with a slotted spoon.  I turned the stove OFF and left the weights on for another 12 minutes and then it was perfect.   If you use a lower flame, you might be able to avoid this step.  A medium low flame for 24 minutes might just be perfect.  (Twelve minutes each side.)

Regardless of the heat level, your time will vary depending on how cold your chicken was when you started this process. A room temperature chicken will naturally take a shorter time to cook than one straight from the refrigerator.

You will know your chicken is done when an instant read thermometer stuck in the thigh reads 170°F or 77°C or when the juices run clear when the thigh is poked with a sharp knife.

Remove the chicken to a carving board and skim the excess oil off from the pot.

It looks completely black but that's just my poor lighting.  It was a delicious amount of charred.

Turn the heat up high and add 1/4 cup or 60ml dry white wine. Cook until it thickens slightly. Mash your garlic with a fork and add it back into the sauce.

See the little blue bowl back there?  That's how much oil I skimmed off. 

Warm through and serve alongside the chicken.  If you are not serving immediately, put the chicken back in the pan  and cover it with the lid or a bit of foil to keep warm.


And for those of you eyeing the quinoa salad, I can highly recommend it.  The original recipe post is here and that will tell you how long I've been waiting to share this chicken with you!

I’m on a touring holiday right now with my mom so if I don’t answer comments right away, please know that I am still delighted when you leave them and will respond as soon as I have internet access again. 


  1. Sounds AWESOME! And who doesn't love a recipe that involves the stacking of cooking equipment?

  2. Oooooh this looks incredible. Such a yummy dinner!

  3. It was very tasty, Kayle. Thank you!

  4. I hope you are having a great time on your trip! This chicken looks wonderful - thanks for showing me how to do that to a chicken. You know how I love your tutorials because I learn so much!!

  5. We are having a fabulous time! The whole area around the Sea of Galilee is beautiful. Give the chicken a try! We really like it like this.

  6. This chicken looks amazing! My number one rule for chicken is crispy skin and you've clearly achieved that here!

  7. Yummy, ma'am! When I make something similar (because who doesn't love to at least *say* spatchcock as often as possible?) I use 2 cast iron skillets that are both Very Very Hot. I press with one so I get a sear on the skin side while the flesh side is cooking in the other pan. Then, I finish the whole shebang in the oven. I doubt it saves time, but it feels Daring. =)

    And I agree w/Susan: crispy skin is The Best!


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