Home > Main Courses > On a Chicken Wing and a Prayer…Chicken Under Rocks w/Herb Roasted Potatoes

On a Chicken Wing and a Prayer…Chicken Under Rocks w/Herb Roasted Potatoes

As a parent of three children, dinner time is a very important part of our day.  It is a chance to us to sit down, hear about everyone’s day, enjoy a good meal and maybe work on some table manners.  To stress the importance of family, one thing we do before dinner is prayer.  When my oldest attended a Parent’s Day Out program, she learned the vague but gets-the-job-done prayer of  “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food.  Amen.”  The simplicity of this prayer works well for some of the memory-challenged members in our family, mainly our five-year old son.

However, after I cooked a meal of Chicken under Rocks with Herb Roasted Potatoes, he had an addendum after prayer had finished.  It became “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food.  Amen.”  (Bite of Chicken) God, this IS good!”

This is just about my favorite recipe for chicken.  Many people call this recipe Chicken Under a Brick…when I first cooked this I didn’t have a brick, but I sure did have some large rocks in my yard.  And anyway I can incorporate my last name into a recipe, well hey, wouldn’t you?  If you are a big fan of crispy skin and juicy, tender meat, this will not disappoint.  I do recommend using a 3-4 lb. locally raised chicken, as it will fit nicely in the pan. 

chicken under a rock - cooking photo

Two rocks from behind our garage magically become part of the meal.

chicken under a rock - plated

 Chicken Under a Brick with Herb-Roasted Potatoes (America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook)

Serves 4

1 whole chicken small, (about 3 lbs), trimmed of excess fat, giblets removed and discarded, chicken rinsed and patted dry
  table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves  
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon, plus 1 lemon cut into wedges
1 1/2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes (small), scrubbed, dried, and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves 

    1. TECHNIQUE: BUTTERFLYING A CHICKEN With the breast side down and the tail of the chicken facing you, use poultry shears to cut along the length of one side of the backbone. 2.With breast side still down, turn the neck end to face you, cut along the other side of the backbone and remove it. 3.Turn the chicken breast-side up. Open the chicken on the work surface. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the chicken, then pound it with the flat side of a mallet to a fairly even thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a heavy-bottomed 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Swirl the skillet to coat evenly with oil. Place the chicken, skin-side down, in the hot pan and reduce the heat to medium. Place the weight (see the note above) on the chicken and cook, checking every 5 minutes or so, until evenly browned, about 25 minutes. (After 20 minutes, the chicken should be fairly crisp and golden; if not, turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to cook until well browned.)

3. Meanwhile, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, 11/2 teaspoons of the thyme, the pepper flakes, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Using tongs, carefully transfer the chicken, skin-side up, to a clean plate. Pour off any accumulated fat in the pan and add the potatoes, sprinkling them with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme. Place the chicken, skin-side up, on the potatoes and brush the skin with the reserved thyme-lemon juice mixture.

5. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Return the skillet with the potatoes to the oven and roast until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, leaving the fat behind. Toss the potatoes with the parsley. Cut the chicken into pieces. Serve the chicken and potatoes immediately with the lemon wedges.


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