Pollo al Mattone

July23

Pollo al Mattone is a method for grilling chicken under a brick to keep it juicy and crisp. Both the Tuscans and the Romans claim to have invented the method. The weight of the brick presses the meat into the grill for faster, more even cooking. It also works as a cover for the meat, keeping it moist. In Italy, pollo al mattone is often cooked over a wood fire.

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Pollo al Mattone
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Tuscan
 
Ingredients
  • two heavy bricks, terra cotta are best
  • aluminum foil
  • 1 whole fryer chicken
  • fresh herbs like basil, oregano, flat-leafed parsley, to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. wash & dry two bricks
  2. wrap bricks in aluminum foil
  3. using a butcher's knife or large kitchen shears, cut the chicken along one side of the backbone
  4. remove the back bone entirely if desired (we left intact)
  5. open the chicken and lay it flat like a book
  6. lift the skin away for the flesh or make small cuts on breast & thighs
  7. push the garlic and fresh herbs under the skin to look like photo above
  8. liberally salt & pepper chicken
  9. preheat barbeque to approx. medium
  10. heat the bricks in a closed barbeque
  11. place chicken skin side down onto grill
  12. using hand protection, place hot bricks over chicken covering as much surface as possible
  13. close lid and let chicken cook 22 -25 minutes without disturbing
  14. remove bricks
  15. using hand protection, grab legs and flip the chicken so the skin side is up
  16. place the bricks on top again
  17. close lid
  18. cook again for 12-15 minutes without disturbing until exposed skin is starting to brown
  19. repeat above action and flip one last time
  20. cook another 5-10 minutes until skin is starting to crisp and internal thigh temperature is 175 degrees
  21. transfer chicken to platter and let rest 10 minutes before serving

I enjoyed this dish twice in one week. The first was the evening of my Mom’s Celebration of Life. I had driven back out to the lake from the city. Girlfriends of 35 years were staying with me that week. Nance handed me a glass of wine and Mary pulled the chicken off the grill to sit. What would I do without my friends?

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Later that same week with Beep, Boo and the Frenchman joining us on the weekend, D tried his hand at the same recipe.

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We had assembled in the gazebo as it looked as if it might rain. When the sky darkened we had to light candles to illuminate our meal. We didn’t mind a bit.

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This was the finished product: chicken and ribs, new potatoes, squash and zucchini. Delicious food, cozy spot, good wine and family. Life is good.

Kath’s quote: “You know when you come across one of those empty shell people, and you think “What the hell happened to you?” Well there came a time in each one of those lives where they are standing at a crossroads… someplace where they had to decide whether to turn left or right. This is no time to be a chicken-shit, Frances“. -Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun

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Love never fails.

 

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