Right after I got the new Frank Stitt cookbook, Bottega Favorita, I have been making his ‘chicken under a brick’ every couple of weeks. I don’t know exactly what the trick is, but whatever it is, the chicken comes out *so* juicy. Lately I’ve been working on a peach barbecue sauce and they go so well together, too.
Frank’s recipe for the chicken is on page 154 of the book but I do it slightly different. All I do is preheat the oven to 500*, brush two skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts with a mixture of olive oil, a tablespoon of dried sage, a couple cloves of smashed garlic, then a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. They bake at 500* in a ceramic baking dish skin-side down and have a clean brick wrapped 2x with aluminum foil on top of each piece of chicken. I have to admit, it’s a little clumsy because the chicken pieces aren’t perfectly flat, but…
Now, Frank says to cook them 10-12 minutes, remove the bricks, flip, and cook 5-6 minutes more, but for whatever reason my oven takes longer so mine usually go 16 minutes, flip, cook 8 minutes. Wow they turn out so great.
The peach barbecue sauce will work with most any citrus-y fruit too. I tried strawberry once and that didn’t go over as well – but I think peach, orange, maybe apricot would be nice.
Ingredients (this makes enough for about 8pcs chicken):
4 slices bacon, cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 yellow onion
1 cup peach preserves (or orange, etc.)
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp dry mustard
2 tsp ground cumin
In a medium-size saucepan, cook the bacon on low/medium until done.
Add the yellow onion (you could chop them if you really wanted to, but I like the onion to come apart naturally while cooking and have those big chunks in the finished sauce. With the big pieces of bacon, it just feels really homemade). Cook until softened in the bacon fat.
On medium heat, add the preserves, ketchup, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar. Simmer for about five minutes, stirring well. Taste. It should be a little ‘flat’. Now add the chili powder, dry mustard, and cumin. Stir well. Taste again – it ought to be just about perfect but feel free to add a smidge more of any of the three spices if you like.