Have you ever imagined cooking with a brick? You’ll be amazed at how the acclaimed Hell’s Kitchen cookbook’s Brick Chicken recipe uses this unconventional method to create a dish that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
It’s a classic Italian cooking technique called “Pollo Al Mattone.” The method involves flattening a whole chicken or chicken parts and cooking it with the weight of a brick or heavy object. This pressure ensures the chicken has good contact with the skillet, resulting in crispy skin and even cooking. Here’s a basic recipe for making chicken under a brick:
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What Does the Al Mattone Method Refer To?
The Al Mattone method refers to a cooking technique that involves grilling food using a brick or a heavy weight to press down the food against the cooking surface. This method is commonly used for cooking meats, particularly chicken under a brick, also known as “Pollo Al Mattone” in Italian. The brick is often wrapped in foil and placed on top of the food to ensure it cooks evenly and maintains good contact with the heat.
What is the Reason Behind the Name “Chicken Under a Brick”?
The term “chicken under a brick” refers to a cooking method where a whole chicken is flattened and then cooked with a heavyweight, typically a brick wrapped in foil, placed on top of it. The brick acts as a press, ensuring the chicken has even contact with the grill or pan, which results in a uniformly cooked bird with crisp skin.
The Origins of Brick Chicken
The history of brick chicken is not well documented, but it’s believed to have roots in Italian cooking, particularly in Tuscany, where the method is known as “pollo al mattone.” The technique is a practical way to cook a chicken quickly and evenly, particularly over an”open flame or on a grill, where the weight of the brick ensures good contact with the heat source and, thus, a more consistent cook.
The Function of a Chicken Brick
A chicken brick is a terracotta cooking vessel designed to roast chicken. It consists of two parts: a base and a domed lid. The chicken is placed inside the brick and put into a cold oven. The chicken brick heats gradually as the oven heats up, creating a mini-oven within the oven. The porous terracotta material absorbs moisture and then redistributes it during cooking, which can help to roast the chicken evenly while keeping it moist.
In the culinary quest for perfectly cooked poultry, Gordon Ramsay’s Guide to the Brick Chicken emerges as more than just a recipe. It’s a celebration of flavor and technique. By now, you not only understand the fundamentals of the ‘Al Mattone’ method but you’re equipped to impress with crispy skin and succulently moist meat that personifies the art of great cooking.
Gather your brick, fire up the grill, and get ready to transform the ordinary chicken dinner into an extraordinary experience. Ramsay’s signature gremolata adds that final, flavorful flourish that will have your guests singing your culinary praises. Enjoy the journey to your best brick chicken yet, and remember, the key to mastery is in the details. Bon appétit!
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Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by John Siracusa