Weeknight Cooking

How to Make Chicken Under a Brick

February 11, 2014

Today, Amanda teaches us how to make extra-crispy chicken under a brick, just like they do in Italy.

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Sometimes, cooking with meat involves a lot of legwork: firing up grills, handy butchering, marinating and dry rubbing, then crossing your fingers that it'll be perfectly done when at last you cut into it. Even for seasoned carnivores, steaks tend to be less forgiving than kale.

Not this chicken.

The name says it all: here is a meat that asks only that you leave it be, weighed down by a brick (or otherwise heavy object). Under that pressure, its skin gets crackly and infused with the garlic and herbs that sizzle with it in the pan. Exactly no kitchen sorcery is required, making it the perfect weeknight dinner -- but with its pop of peppers and wine-y juice, it'd be equally at home at your next dinner party.

Chicken Under a Brick with Pickled Peppers

Serves 2 to 4

2 chicken thighs and drumsticks, still attached
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 sprigs marjoram, thyme, or rosemary
2 sprigs sage
1 garlic clove, smashed, skin left on
1/4 cup rose or white wine
1/2 lemon
5 peppadew or other small pickled, slightly spicy peppers, thinly sliced

1. An hour before cooking, season the chicken on all sides with salt. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

2. Pat the chicken dry. Place a medium cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, add the oil. Then the herbs, garlic clove, and chicken pieces, skin-side down.

3. Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the chicken with oil. Lay a piece of foil on top of the chicken, then weigh it down with a large, heavy sauté pan. Let the chicken cook for 20 to 30 minutes, checking every couple of minutes to make sure it’s browning steadily and evenly. You want the chicken to cook through just as the skin turns a nice hazelnut brown. When the chicken reaches this color, carefully turn the pieces over, making sure you don’t tear the lovely crisp skin you’ve just worked so hard on. Crisp the other side just until the chicken is cooked through, 2 to 5 minutes.

4. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan and bring to a boil. Scrape up any sticky bits. Discard the herbs. Pour this mixture into the saute pan you used as a weight. Add the rose. Bring to a boil and reduce by half (or more, if desired). Season to taste with lemon juice and salt. Stir in the peppers. Spoon the sauce onto a serving dish (or into the cast-iron skillet) and top with the chicken.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • allysahn
  • MattArmendariz
  • Pisanella
Fond of large dogs, tiny houses, pungent cheese, and dessert for dinner (or breakfast).


allysahn August 3, 2016
my chicken always starts out crispy, but then quickly softens before I'm able to serve it. Any suggestions for making the crispy-ness last?
MattArmendariz January 29, 2015
Brilliant. Absolutely cannot wait to do this.
Pisanella April 9, 2014
I thought you might use a REAL brick!