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Pollo al Mattone

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 day 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 1 day
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 lemon, zested and juiced

3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon pimenton

1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 Cornish game hens, butterflied, backbone and wing tips removed, legs tied with kitchen string

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup chicken stock


  1. Special equipment: weights such as foil covered bricks or cast iron saute pan
  2. In a small bowl combine the garlic, crushed red pepper, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, pimenton, and cumin. Drizzle in olive oil until the mixture becomes a paste. Place the chicken into a large bowl and massage with the spice mixture. Let marinate for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator or 2 hours at room temperature.
  3. * If refrigerating the chicken, remove from the refrigerator 45 minutes to 1 hour before cooking to let the chicken come to room temperature.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. 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 chickens and place bricks or weights in the second saute pan. Cook the chicken until the skin starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Place the whole shootin' match in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the pans from the oven and remove the weights and the 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. Remove the chickens from the pan and reserve on a large platter.
  7. Remove the excess fat from the saute 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.
  8. Arrange chicken on serving plates or a platter. Spoon the juices over. Tastes like chicken!