Pollo al Mattone
"Chicken under a Brick"
Pollo al Mattone is a classic Tuscan recipe in which a whole chicken is cooked between two pieces of
heated terra-cotta. The bottom of the dish remains over the burner and the heavier top piece is used as
a weight to flatten the chicken. The cooked chicken emerges from this unique cooking vessel not only
flattened but crusty on the outside and juicy and delicious on the inside. We are also providing you with
a recipe for cooking chicken breasts with potatoes in the mattone.
Terra-cotta mattones are difficult to find. You can use clean, foil-covered bricks, a heayy cast iron skillet or a panini press lid as a weight for the the chicken.
Pollo al Mattone - Whole Chicken
1 (3-4 pounds) chicken
Tuscan herbs (sage, rosemary, garlic)
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Lemon wedges for garnish
Split chicken by splitting along backbone with poultry shears. Open the carcass like a book. Turn it bone-side down and crush the backbone with your hands. Pull each leg until it pops out of its socket. Press chicken with your hands, flattening it to a uniform thickness. Coat both sides of the chicken with olive oil. Rub all over with the herbs, salt, and pepper. Baste with some of the lemon juice.
Preheat the mattone over medium heat for 5 minutes. Place 1/2 cup of olive oil in the base of the mattone and heat for 2 minutes. Place seasoned chicken, skin side down, in the base of the mattone. Cover with press (lid). Cook over medium heat until the skin is evenly golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
Reduce the heat if the skin is browning too quickly.
Turn the chicken over, baste with lemon juice, press, and cook for another
10-15 minutes. The basting is very important to prevent the bird from drying out. Turn the chicken over one more time, press, and cook about 5-8 minutes more. The chicken is done when the juices from the thigh are clear when pierced with a fork. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow it to rest about 5 minutes. Cut the chicken into 4 pieces. Garnish with lemon wedges, olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt.
Pollo al Mattone - Chicken Breast with Potatoes
1 large whole chicken breast, skin on
2 fresh rosemary springs
1 rosemary spring, leaves removed and minced
4 medium potatoes
2 lemons, sliced
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Cut the breastbone of the chicken breast with poultry shears. Do not cut the breast into 2 pieces, just cut the bone. Open the breast like a book. Loosen the skin on each breast half and insert a rosemary spring. Coat the chicken breast with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch slices. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 5-6 minutes, drain. The potatoes are partially cooked and will cook further in the mattone. Place the potatoes and lemon slices in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat the potatoes without breaking them.
Preheat the mattone over medium heat for 5 minutes. Place 1/2 cup olive oil in the base of the mattone, and heat for 2 minutes. Place seasoned chicken, skin side down, in the base of the mattone. Place sliced (pre-cooked) potatoes and lemon slices around the chicken. Cover with press (lid). Cook over medium heat until the skin is evenly golden brown, about 6-7 minutes. Turn the chicken over, and turn the potatoes and lemons over. Cover with the press and cook for another 6-7 minutes. Reduce the heat if the skin is browning too quickly. Chicken is done when the juices are clear when pierced with a fork.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Slice the chicken and serve with the potatoes and lemons.
POULTRY RECIPES > POLLO AL MATTONE
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