Neil Perry's chicken cooked under a brick

Neil Perry
Chicken cooked under a brick.
Chicken cooked under a brick. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy

If you can't find a brick for the chicken, use a cast-iron saucepan or a heavy-based pot wrapped in foil. Whatever you use, this method gives the chicken skin a nice texture while keeping the flesh moist.

Ingredients

1.6kg organic free-range chicken, washed and patted dry

20g sea salt flakes

white pepper

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped

60ml olive oil

1 lemon, juiced and zested

15ml vegetable oil

Method

1. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, remove the spine from the chicken. Flatten the bird by placing it skin side up on a cutting board and applying firm pressure to breastbone.

2. Rub sea salt and a good grind of white pepper into the chicken's cavity and skin and transfer to a baking tray.

3. In a bowl, combine the garlic, sage, rosemary, olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Mix well to combine and rub all over the chicken and under the skin, and place chicken skin-side up on the tray to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan-forced) and place a rack in the lower part of the oven. Wrap a clean brick in 2 layers of aluminium foil.

5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and remove any garlic pieces to stop them burning. Rub the skin with some vegetable oil.

6. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan or skillet (big enough to hold the chicken) on medium high. Sear the chicken skin-side down, then place the brick on top. Cook for 15 minutes, moving the pan around the burner every couple of minutes to ensure even cooking.

7. After 15 minutes, transfer the chicken to the oven and cook for a further 10-12 minutes, until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a skewer. Remove the brick, transfer the chicken to a platter and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

8. Serve with roast potatoes and braised Roman beans (see tip).

Tip: I love this chicken dish served with Roman beans – they're the flat, long ones and they love to be braised. Sweat off some garlic, onion and chilli in olive oil, then add the beans and some sea salt. When the beans are coated, add some crushed tinned tomatoes and a little dill or oregano and braise for about 30 minutes, until the beans go a dark green, then top with grated pecorino.