Is it really a shock that I’m bringing to you another favorite Italian recipe of mine? Although I must admit that when I discussed this with the team and mentioned cooking with bricks, they sort of looked at me a bit funny and laughed. The laughing ceased once they gave this Roasted Chicken Under a Brick with Apple Rosemary Sauce a try. Suddenly folks were searching their garages for bricks.
This recipe is derived from Pollo al Mattone, which in Italian means chicken with a brick. The recipe comes from the Tuscan region of Italy and is essentially a technique for grilling that uses heavy bricks (or another cast iron skillet) to weigh down a spatchcocked chicken on the grate of the grill. The result of this technique is a perfectly cooked chicken that is juicy with crispy skin. A no frills chicken that is anything but boring.
For our purposes, we made some modifications to the technique as we were not preparing this chicken on the grill (although you absolutely could). One of the hallmarks of Italian cooking is not over complicating things and so it is with this recipe. The marinade is a mixture of olive oil, lemon zest and juice, fresh rosemary, sage and minced garlic. That’s all.
To prepare the marinade, I used the 7-5/8" Petite Chef knife to chop the fresh herbs and mince the garlic.
If you’ve never spatchcocked a chicken, it’s actually quite easy when you have our Super Shears. Use them to cut along both sides of the spine to remove it. Then flip the chicken over, rotate the leg quarters outward and push on the breast bone to crack the center bone so it will lay flat. Check out our tutorial, How to Quickly Spatchcock a Chicken, for step-by-step instructions.
Once the chicken is prepped and the marinade is ready, rub it all over the chicken, including under the skin, and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for two hours, up to overnight.
Now for the fun part. Wrap two bricks in heavy duty foil and put olive oil on the side you’ll be placing on the chicken. In the heated skillet with olive oil, place the chicken skin-side down and then place each brick on the chicken to evenly weigh it down. This is the quick way to crisp up the skin before you place the entire skillet and bricks into the oven. If you were doing this on the grill, you would simply place the chicken skin-side down on the grill and weigh it down with the bricks.
For this recipe, we did flip the chicken over halfway through cooking and again placed the bricks on top to finish the cooking process. You don’t necessarily need to do this step if you prefer your skin to be extra crispy.
While the chicken is roasting, prepare the apple rosemary sauce. This is a simple sauce that perfectly complements the herbs used in the marinade as it brings in the rosemary as well as the tartness of the Granny Smith apples.
Once the chicken is roasted to temperature (165 F), remove it from the oven and remove the bricks (keeping in mind they will be very hot – so use oven gloves). Let the chicken rest 5 to 10 minutes before using the 6-3/4" Petite Carver to carve the chicken and serve with the apple rosemary sauce on the side.
Sometimes you have to wonder how something so simple can taste so good. The surprise for everyone with this Roasted Chicken Under a Brick with Apple Rosemary Sauce recipe was how moist and juicy the chicken was because of the bricks. If you don’t have bricks, you can also use another skillet to weigh the chicken down, but trust me, it’s worth it. I have no doubt some of my colleagues will be making this recipe in the near future. We may just run into a shortage of bricks. Here’s to trying something new. Enjoy!
Roasted Chicken Under a Brick
For the chicken:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One 3-4-pound whole chicken
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and small diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 cup apple cider
- Pinch of kosher salt
- In a medium bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice and zest, rosemary, sage, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Using Super Shears, remove the spine from the chicken. Flatten it by placing it skin-side up on a cutting board and apply firm pressure to the breastbone.
- Place the chicken, skin-side down, onto a baking sheet or into a baking dish. Rub the prepared marinade all over the chicken, including under the skin. Cover with plastic and marinate in the refrigerator at least two hours and optimally overnight.
- Heat the oven to 475 F.
- Wrap two bricks in foil and oil the side of the bricks that will be placed on the chicken (or you can use another skillet).
- Preheat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for about two minutes. Drizzle some olive oil into your skillet and wait approximately 30 seconds for the olive oil to heat up.
- Place the chicken, skin-side down, into a skillet and place bricks on top of the chicken to evenly it weigh-down. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until the skin is browned.
- Transfer the skillet into the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven, remove the weights and flip the chicken so it is skin-side up. Place the bricks on the chicken once again and return to the oven to cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the thickest part of the breast reaches a temperature of 165 F and juices run clear.
- While the chicken is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add the apples, rosemary, apple cider and salt.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the saucepan and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples become soft and the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.
- Remove chicken from oven, remove the weights and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Carve and serve with apple rosemary sauce, drizzled over the chicken.