Chicken under a brick

Chicken under a brick

Complete Meal

  • 6

    Number of People

  • Cheap


  • Easy


  • Cooking time


  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 fresh red chillies
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint (30g)
  • 1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley (30g)
  • 300ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml red wine vinegar
  • 1 x 2kg whole free-range chicken
  • olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to full whack (240ºC/475ºF/gas 9). Get yourself two bricks, wash them well, then completely cover each with a triple layer of tin foil. Place in the oven with a large pan or roasting tray to heat through.

2. Meanwhile, to make the salsa, peel the onion and garlic, then finely chop with the chillies and place in a bowl with the fennel seeds. Rip off the top leafy half of the mint and parsley, including any tender stalks, then finely chop and add to the bowl with the extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Add 1 teaspoon each of sea salt and black pepper, and mix well.

3. Use a large sharp knife to carefully cut the chicken in half lengthways. Slash the thighs and drumsticks at 3cm intervals and rub all over with a little olive oil.

4. Carefully remove the pan and bricks from the oven, then place the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Place a hot brick on each chicken half, press down, then cook in the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

5. Remove the bricks and pour the salsa straight over the chicken halves in the pan, ensuring they’re well covered. Leave to rest for 10 minutes, then pull the chicken out of the salsa on to a platter and serve. I like to place any leftover salsa in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze it – it's delicious for cooking with any meat, fish or veg.

Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2018 Jamie Cooks Italy). Photography: Matt Russell (2018).

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