Packed with fresh, smoky and tangy flavors, this is the most succulent, delicious chicken of all time!Yep, under a brick!
This is one way — my new favorite way — to cook chicken so that its skin is crisped to perfection and its interior is wonderfully juicy.Add the most delicious butter filled with fresh garden herbs and smoky spices, and you won’t know what hit you. This chicken is over-the-top, my friends!
And it looks gorgeous!This is not difficult — a bit of a culinary project, but an easy, fun one! It’s perfect for weekend cooking and the whole family will love it! Promise! (Too many exclamation marks, I know.)I loved serving this for dinner with sautéed potatoes and spinach. Here’s what you do… Once you follow the recipe below, add your favorite variety of diced potatoes to the same pan where the chicken was and sauté until they’re fork tender, about 15 minutes. Add some spinach in the last couple minutes and cook just until it’s wilted. Yum!
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh lemon verbena (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic, divided
- zest of 1 small lemon
- 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 (4-pound) whole chicken
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Cover the brick with foil and set aside. (One brick will do, but two is even better.)
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, 1 tablespoon of the thyme, lemon verbena, oregano, 1 tablespoon of the paprika, 1 tablespoon of the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix to blend and set aside.
- Place the chicken on clean, dry surface, breast-side-down. Working from the cavity opening up to the neck, cut down each side of the back bone with kitchen scissors or a boning knife. Discard the backbone. Then, with care, open the chicken like a book, exposing the cavity of the bird. The breast bones might crack a bit and that's okay. Now turn the chicken over, breast side up.
- Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the flesh of the chicken and evenly rub the butter under it, covering as much of the chicken as possible, and keeping the skin as intact as possible. Set aside.
- Add the olive oil, remaining 1 tablespoon of thyme, remaining ½ teaspoon of paprika, and remaining ½ teaspoon of the garlic, to an approximately 12-inch, oven proof, deep skillet (cast iron is perfect). Swirl the skillet around to combine all of the ingredients, an place it over high heat.
- Once the skillet is very hot, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Carefully turn the chicken over and place it, breast side down, in the pan. Then season the cavity with salt and pepper. (You should hear a sizzling sound when you add it to the skillet -- if you don't, it's not hot enough yet.)
- Place the foil-covered brick(s) on top. If you only have one, be sure it's over the breasts. Turn the heat to medium-high and let the chicken sear for about 5 minutes.
- Then place the skillet -- still with the brick(s) -- in the preheated 500 degree F oven and let it cook for 7 minutes. You will hear it sizzling away.
- Remove the skillet and lower the oven heat to 375 degrees F. Once the temperature has lowered, return the skillet to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Then remove the skillet from the oven again and take off the brick(s). Using kitchen tongs to help you, turn the chicken over and place the brick -- just one if you're using two -- on top of the breasts.
- Place the skillet back in the oven until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven for the last time, take the brick off and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving.