Chicken Under a Brick

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 55 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 1 to 2 servings
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1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped 

3 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves finely chopped 

1 lemon, zested and juiced 

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

One 3 1/2-pound chicken, backbone removed, split in half through the breast (see Cook's Note)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 cup dry white wine 

3/4 cup chicken stock 

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives


  1. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, garlic, oregano and lemon zest and juice. Drizzle in olive oil until the mixture becomes a paste. Place one half of the chicken into a large bowl (reserve the other half chicken for another use) and massage with the spice mixture. Let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature (or up to 12 hours in the fridge; if refrigerating the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator 45 minutes to 1 hour before cooking to let the chicken come to room temperature).
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay the marinated chicken in the pan, skin-side down. Oil the bottom of another large saute pan, lay it on top of the chicken and place bricks or weights in the second saute pan. Cook the chicken until the skin starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the pans from the oven and remove the weights and top pan. At this point the skin should be lovely and dark brown. Check the chicken for doneness; it should be cooked through but still succulent and juicy. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter.
  5. Remove the excess fat from the pan and add the white wine. Cook over high heat until the wine has reduced by more than half. Add the chicken stock, season with salt and reduce by half.
  6. Spoon the juices over the chicken and sprinkle with chives. 

Cook’s Note

This recipe uses only half of the chicken. Reserve the other half for another use.