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Chicken Under a Brick in a Hurry

Chicken Under a Brick in a Hurry

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Getting your chicken super juicy on the inside and extra crispy on the outside requires one simple tool (that’s the brick part) and a few helpful techniques. The trickiest part of this recipe is removing the chicken bones, but you can watch the process in our video below. If you don’t want to get your hands messy (we get it), ask your butcher to remove the bones from four chicken thighs, leaving the skin intact. Position the skin-on, boneless thighs close to each other in the pan so that each brick sits on top of two pieces while they cook.



  • 2 skin-on, bone-in legs (thigh and drumstick; about 1½ lb. total)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Pesto Verde and Assembly

  • 1 oil-packed anchovy fillet
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • ½ cup parsley leaves with tender stems
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced

Recipe Preparation


  • Wrap 2 bricks with foil (if you don’t have any bricks lying around, use a heavy skillet). Working with 1 leg at a time, place chicken skin side down on a cutting board. Using your fingers, feel for the thigh bone, which runs from one end of the thigh to the other. Using a boning knife or another thin sharp knife, cut straight down into flesh until the tip of the knife hits the bone, then slice from one end of bone to the other to expose its entire length. Using short strokes and trying to stay as close to the bone as possible, cut meat away from bone on both sides, working your way around until you can wiggle the tip of your knife underneath it (take care not to cut through the skin). With the front end of your blade underneath the bone, slice upward toward free end of bone to release flesh. At this point, the bone should only be attached at the joint that connects it to the drumstick.

  • Repeat this process, this time making a cut from the top of the drumstick bone (at the joint) down to foot end. Cut along either side of drumstick bone (same as you did with the thigh bone) until you can wiggle your knife underneath. With the blade angled toward the cutting board this time, cut meat away from bone. By now, the drumstick and thigh bones should be attached only where they meet at the joint. Make small cuts all around and underneath joint until you can cut out bones completely. Cut away any pieces of cartilage that remain. Turn deboned chicken over and smooth skin over meat. (Freeze bones and use at a later date for stock.)

  • Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Pour oil into a medium cast-iron skillet. Place chicken in pan skin side down (it’s okay if the pieces touch, but make sure they don’t overlap). Heat pan over medium-high and place a prepared brick on top of each piece (or, place a sheet of foil over chicken, then set a second cast-iron skillet on top). Cook chicken, checking halfway through to make sure skin isn’t taking on color too quickly and reducing heat to medium if needed, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and flesh is almost completely cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Pesto Verde and Assembly

  • While chicken is cooking, place anchovy, garlic, and 1 tsp. salt in a mortar and use pestle to pound to a paste, about 1 minute. Add parsley and continue to pound until completely pulverized, about 2 minutes. (Alternately, grate garlic and finely chop anchovy and parsley, then mix together in a medium bowl.) Mix in oil, vinegar, mustard, and red pepper flakes with pestle, then add scallions. Taste and season with more salt, if needed.

  • Carefully remove bricks (foil will be greasy) and check chicken. There should be only a hint of medium-rare flesh on the thickest part of the thigh. Using a thin spatula, release chicken skin from pan and turn onto flesh side. Remove from heat and let sit to finish cooking through, about 1 minute.

  • Spoon some pesto verde onto a platter. Top with chicken, skin side up, and spoon more pesto over (but don’t cover up all that beautiful crisp skin you just created!).

Recipe by Carla Lalli Music

Related Video

Troye Sivan Tries to Keep Up with Carla

Reviews SectionThis was delicious! I've made various salsa verde's and this one was really good!AnonymousSacramento, CA07/24/19What a bloody ripper! This dish is absolutely swoon-worthy and has shot straight to #1on the family chicken hit list. Have been looking for ages for a great use for the whole legs stashed in the freezer. Thanks to Carla, 2 have now been successfully liberated, and another 4 are waiting in the wings (ha!)pjredit9564Sydney, Australia03/01/19This recipe is great! Would definitely recommend getting a butcher to take the bones out of the chicken, because then it truly is the quickest, most satisfying dinner. The pesto verde is the perfect amount of brightness in comparison to the dark meat chicken (which stays super juicy btw). I make this all the time!The Pesto Verde sauce is out of this world! Really gives a savory taste to the chicken. Deboning the thigh and leg quarters was a bit difficult but the end result is well worth it. Plus, the bones are currently being turned into stock for Matzo Ball soup later this week :)AnonymousNew Jersey12/02/18

Chicken &ldquoUnder a Brick&rdquo

It may sound and look fancy, but the technique in this recipe guarantees you a golden, crispy chicken every time. Forget searing an unwieldy whole bird in a giant pot on the stove. Instead, butterfly your chicken (remove the backbone and open it like a book), place it breast-side down in a cast-iron skillet, and then weigh it down with another skillet. The second skillet makes sure the skin comes in maximum contact with the cast iron. After being quickly seared on the stove, the chicken is roasted in the oven with a medley of red onion, sweet potato, Portobello mushrooms, and oregano.

You can make roast chicken on a weeknight -- really!

Even those of us who live to master project recipes every weekend can falter when it comes to weeknight cooking. One-pot Southern cast iron skillet recipes, however, can come to the rescue. With simple ingredient lists and always speedy clean-up, these skillet suppers will be your new weeknight heroes.

Let's start with roast chicken with greens. True, roast chicken isn't the fastest recipe around, but, by making use of a few tricks, and by cooking your side dish as the bird rests, you can certainly pull this dish off on a weeknight. Here's how.

First step: Spatchcocking, a funny name, but highly useful step. To spatchcock is simply to butterfly a bird and smash it flat. The easiest way to accomplish this step is to grab a pair of sharp, heavy-duty kitchen shears and cut out the bird's backbone. (You can do this with a knife, too, but it requires a bit of chicken gymnastics to do it safely, so we recommend sticking with scissors.) While you've got the scissors out, snip the breast bone, right near where the neck used to be, to make the smashing easier. Flip the bird to it is skin side-up and press on the breasts to splay the bird flat. The legs should twirl out to the side and lay flat. If you'd like, you can also take the wing tips and slip them behind the top of the breasts to protect them from burning and, hey, just look cool.

Next, salt and rest. (This here's the only optional part of the recipe, by the way. It'll make your chicken way juicier and more flavorful, but you can totally skip it if it's already 6 p.m.) Simply place the chicken on a rack set on a baking sheet and rub way more kosher salt all over it than you think is necessary. I use about two tablespoons. Flip the chicken so that it is skin side-up and let it rest at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour. The chicken will start to look wet, as the salt pulls moisture from the meat, and then, as time goes on, it will suck all those flavorful juices back up into the chicken. Once the chicken looks dry again, you're ready to move on. (And yes, you can cheat and pat it dry if there's still a bit of moisture left.)
While the chicken is salting, crank up the oven to 475 degrees. Yep, that sounds high, but trust me — this hot oven will give you crisp skin and perfectly cooked chicken in a snap. Pull out two cast iron skillets, or one skillet and another large, heavy pot. Wrap the bottom of the second skillet or heavy pot with foil — this will be your secret weapon.

Set the skillet you're going to cook with on a burner and crank up the heat to medium-high. Let the skillet sit there for about five minutes to get it good and hot. Add some oil and swirl it around. Now place the chicken in the hot skillet, skin side-down. Try to land the chicken so as much of the skin hits the hot pan as possible. Place that secret weapon/second skillet on top of the chicken, foil side-down, and press hard to smash the skin into the hot oil. (Listen to that beautiful sizzle.) Let the whole thing sit there and and start to cook for a few minutes, and then transfer the whole mess to the oven.

Let roast until the skin is crisp and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Now carefully remove the secret weapon skillet and then use a couple of pairs of tongs to flip the chicken skin side-up. Return the chicken to the oven, and continue to roast, uncovered, until the breast meat hits about 150 degrees, about 20 more minutes. Boom — a chicken roasted in less than an hour.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest while you saute up your greens. Pour off all of the drippings from the skillet into a small bowl. Skim off around a tablespon of fat from the top of the drippings and return that to the skillet. Go ahead and discard any remaining fat from the drippings, but save the defatted juices for later.

Place the skillet over medium heat and add a few sliced cloves of garlic. Cook those, stirring, until soft, and then add a big bunch of chopped kale, along with those reserved juices. You can also use other hearty greens here, such as collards or mustard greens, or even a mixture. Season as needed (you may not need any salt as the reserved juices will be quite salty) and cook until soft. I like to add a little squeeze of fresh lemon to finish, but you can add a drizzle of apple cider vinegar, or even balsamic vinegar, if you'd like.

At this point, your chicken should be properly rested, so it's ready to cut up and serve. Lucky for you, spatchocked chicken is ultra-easy to carve: Simply cut off the legs and slice the breast meat in half, straight down the breast bone. Done.

Roast Chicken Under a Brick with Kale
Note: If you're in a hurry, you can skip the initial resting time after salting the chicken.

Serves: 4 to 6
Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Total time: About 2 hours

1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large bunch green curly kale, stemmed and chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Using heavy-duty kitchen shears, cut the backbone from the chicken. Snip the breast bone, and then flip the chicken so it is skin side-up on a cutting board. Press down firmly on the breast to press the chicken flat. Twist the wing tips behind the breasts to secure. Using paper towels, pat the chicken very dry and place on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub 2 tablespoons of the salt all over the skin and underside of the chicken. Let sit at room temperature, skin side-up, for 45 minutes.

When you're ready to roast the chicken, heat the oven to 475 degrees. Wrap the bottom of a heavy skillet or Dutch oven with aluminum foil.

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Let heat for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken, skin side-down, in the hot skillet. Place the foil-lined skillet on top of the chicken and press firmly to flatten the chicken into the skillet. Let cook until the skin begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer to the oven and roast until the skin is deeply golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil-lined skillet and carefully flip the chicken so that it is skin side-up. Continue to roast until the breast meat registers 150 degrees, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, carefully pour the drippings in the pan into a small bowl. Skim off about 1 tablespoon of fat from the drippings and place in the hot skillet. Discard any additional fat in the bowl, reserving any juices.

Place the skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the kale and the reserved juices. Season with salt and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the kale is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Carve the chicken and serve with the kale.

Kate Williams is the former editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She was also the on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She's worked in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America&rsquos Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook&rsquos Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.

Recipe Steps

Step 1: If using whole chicken breasts, cut each in half. Trim any sinews or excess fat off the breasts and discard. Rinse the breasts under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Place the breasts in a non-reactive baking dish.

Step 2: Generously season the breasts on both sides with salt, pepper, and the cumin seeds. Sprinkle both sides of the breasts with the garlic, chile, and chopped cilantro. Pour the lime juice and olive oil over the chicken breasts, turning to coat both sides. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Step 3: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

Step 4: When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the breasts on the hot grate, placing them on a diagonal to the bars. Pour any remaining marinade over them. Place one brick on top of each two breast halves. Grill the breasts for 2 minutes, then rotate them a quarter turn to create an attractive Crosshatch of grill marks, if desired. Continue grilling the breasts on that side for 2 minutes longer. Turn the breasts over, place the bricks on top, and grill until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes longer, again rotating them after 2 minutes to create a Crosshatch of grill marks, if desired. The total cooking time will be 8 to 10 minutes. To test for doneness, poke a breast in the thickest part with your finger it should feel firm to the touch. Transfer the grilled chickento a platter or plates. Garnish with the cilantro sprigs and serve with the lime wedges.

Weighing down the chicken puts the skin in close contact with the pan for maximum crispiness and also locks in moisture for super juicy meat.

If you don’t feel like smoking up your kitchen by charring the beans on the stovetop, try grilling or just blanching them instead.

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  • Nutritional Sample Size per half 3-lb. chicken
  • Calories (kcal) : 990
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 610
  • Fat (g): 67
  • Saturated Fat (g): 17
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 14
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 32
  • Cholesterol (mg): 355
  • Sodium (mg): 850
  • Carbohydrates (g): 1
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 89
  • Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry. Follow the directions in the Photo-essay to split and partially bone the chicken. Rinse and dry the chicken halves again. Combine the thyme, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil in a large zip-top bag or mixing bowl. Add the chicken halves. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
  • Heat the oven to 450°F. Wrap two bricks in a couple of layers of foil. (If you don’t have bricks, use heavy rocks, 2-lb. weights, or another heavy pan weighed down with cans.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, let the excess marinade drain off, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set a large cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add just enough vegetable oil to lightly film the pan. Put the chicken halves, skin side down, in the pan and immediately put a brick on top of each half. Turn the heat to medium and cook (without moving the chicken) until the skin is a deep golden brown (check with a spatula) and the chicken is cooked about halfway through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the bricks, turn the chicken halves over, and put the pan in the hot oven to finish roasting the chicken until a thermometer registers at least 165°F, another 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Add to List


Minute Recipe: Beet, Stilton, Apple, and Nut Salad

This classic salad makes an elegant and tasty first course for a dinner or a great lunch main dish. I simplify the preparation by using sliced canned beets.

Drain the juice from a 1-pound can of sliced beets. Divide the slices among four plates, allotting 4 or 5 slices per plate. Mix together in a bowl 3/4 cup coarsely chopped white mushrooms, about 1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped apple, 1/2 cup broken walnut pieces, and 1/2 cup crumbled Stilton cheese. Add 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and mix well. Spoon a good dollop of the mixture into the middle of the sliced beets on the plates and sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh chives. Serve.

Chicken Antojitos Recipe – To DIE For

This week my fellow bloggers in the #FridayRecipeClub have issued the challenge for an interesting chicken recipe. Hmmm well you all know I adore chicken and have many chicken recipes available here on so how could I come up with something different?

After some thought I was deciding between Jerk Chicken or my favourite appetizer Chicken Antojitos when realized I don’t have the right spices for Jerk Chicken so the decision was made.

Chicken Antojitos Recipe


  • 1 8oz brick of cream cheese (light or regular)
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and veins removed, finely chopped
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cooked chicken thighs, shredded


Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the cream cheese, onions, jalapeño pepper, red and green peppers together, spread over tortilla.

Sprinkle cheddar and chicken over top of each tortilla.

Roll up your tortillas, and score the top of each roll 4 times.

Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.

Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, then cut each roll into pinwheels using the score marks.

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Chicken Shawarma tips

A couple of tips and tricks I picked up from many sources, including friends from an amateur cooking group has helped a lot in perfecting this recipe to the max.
1) Use Orange juice. The slight sweetness I told you about actually came from the use of orange juice and not sugar as I was thinking. I've heard a lot about this before but was hesitant to try.
2) Use zests. Orange and lemon zests helped also in flavoring the dish giving it the desirable tartness without the need for more vinegar or lemon juice.
3) Use chicken skin: This was genius guys. If you can find lamb fat then by all means use it. Or else do as I just did, use the fat dripping from chicken thigh skin.

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This series is themed by place, such as “In the Wild,” in which Steven Raichlen shows viewers how to grill game and other wild foods, or “From the Farm,” which demonstrates how to grill the freshest fruits and vegetables. In addition, there will be a few occasion-oriented shows, such as “At the Game,” which focuses on grilling for sports fans, and “In a Hurry,” for people with more taste than time. Sizzling new recipes will range from a bigger-than-life Greek whole spit-roasted hog to lomo al trappo, Colombia’s singular beef tenderloin wrapped in salt and cloth and grilled right in the embers.

As in Primal Grill®100, we'll also include Steven's legendary fireside "chats" about his personal grilling experiences and philosophy, but this year, the chats will focus on his travels around the world's barbecue trail. Photos from Steven's travels will be superimposed on the screen.

Based on Raichlen’s best-selling The Barbecue Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, an updated version of his 1998 global grilling odyssey, Primal Grill’s menu of episodes pairs internationally inspired entrees with colorful side dishes that sizzle. Each week, viewers’ taste buds will travel to different parts of the world to explore the primal fascination of cooking over crackling flames and burning embers.

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