Motivation for this Crispy Chicken Under A Brick recipe was inspired from the European nation of Georgia, which borders Western Asia. The technique of employing Tsitsila Tabaka is a regional tradition that often calls for foiled-wrapped bricks and starting the bird on the stovetop. However it’s done, the rendered fat in the pan typically serves as a base for a simple garlic sauce that brims with flavor.
The chicken is spatchcocked, which puts thighs and breasts on the same plane for even cooking. Georgian cooks use a brick to keep their chickens truly flat. The weight presses the chicken down, ensuring the bird makes full contact with the pan’s hot surface, which renders the fat and ensures even browning. If crisp skin is what you’re after, this is the way to get it.
For the “brick,” we used a second heavy skillet ; it’s easier and works just as well. However, if you have them on hand, you instead could use one or two clean bricks wrapped in heavy-duty foil. Don’t use a chicken much larger than 4 pounds, as it may not fit comfortably in the skillet. Don’t forget to pat the chicken dry before searing. The drier the skin, the better it crisps. After searing, make sure to drain the fat in the pan before putting the bird in the oven; this reduces splatter.
Instead of simply seasoning the meat, you build flavor by marinating it in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and herbs, such as rosemary, then searing the chicken, skin side down, with bricks (or heavy skillet) on top. Then flip it and finish it in the oven. An easy pan sauce with garlic, lemon and cilantro perfectly complements the chicken.
After roasting, use the same skillet to create the easy pan sauce. Cook garlic in butter, then deglazed the pan with chicken broth, scraping up the flavorful brown bits. Off heat, stir in cayenne pepper, lemon juice and fresh cilantro. Spooned over the crispy chicken, the cilantro and garlic in the sauce reinforced the coriander and garlic in the spice rub.
We paired our chicken with the most silky Braised Asparagus and crispy/creamy Paprika-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes. We were practically licking the plate when done. I’ll post those blogs in the near future.
Crispy Chicken Under a Brick
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 4-lb. whole chicken
- 1 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 2 Tbsp. salted butter
- 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
- In a small bowl, stir together the coriander, granulated garlic, 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Place the chicken breast down on a cutting board. Using sturdy kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone, end to end. Remove and discard the backbone (or save it to make broth). Spread open the chicken, then turn it breast up. Use the heel of your hand to press down firmly on the thickest part of the breast, until the wishbone snaps. Season all over with the spice mixture, rubbing it into the skin. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the lowest position. Thoroughly pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until just smoking. Place the chicken breast down in the pan. Lay a small sheet of foil over the chicken, then place a second heavy skillet or pot on top. Reduce to medium and cook until the skin is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, removing the weight and foil and checking every 4 to 5 minutes to ensure even browning.
- Using tongs, carefully transfer the chicken to a large plate, turning it breast up. Pour off and discard the fat in the skillet. Slide the chicken breast up back into the pan and place in the oven. Roast until the thickest part of the breast reaches 160°F, 25 to 35 minutes. Carefully transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest while you make the sauce.
- Set the skillet (the handle will be hot) over medium-high and cook the butter and garlic, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits, then cook until the garlic is softened and the mixture is lightly thickened and reduced to about ¾ cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Using a silicone spatula, mash the garlic until almost smooth and mix it into the sauce.
- Off heat, stir in the cayenne, lemon juice and cilantro, then transfer to a serving bowl. Carve, then serve with the sauce.
Recipe from Courtney Hill for Milk Street Magazine