Singer-songwriter John Legend is married to Teigen, in case you were wondering why his recipe appears in her cookbook. Weighing down on the chicken compresses the meat for a dense, flavourful bite while ensuring that the skin is nice and crispy. We tried this out and true to Teigen’s advice, the bricks were the hardest “ingredient” to find in this recipe, although you can easily substitute them with any sturdy, heavy object like a saucepan filled with rocks or a gold bar. Fresh sage can also be hard to find in Singapore, although you can substitute it with half the amount of the dried herb. Also, be sure to mince your garlic very fine, or you’re going to have large, bitter chunks of burnt garlic sticking to your chicken.
John’s Tuscan Brick Chicken With Charred Lemons
Serves 4 | Level: Moderate | Preparation time: 2 to 24 hours; cooking time: 1 hour
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
3 tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 tbsp very finely minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
grated zest of 2 lemons
2 skin-on lemons, quartered
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters
2 tbsp canola oil
2 bricks (check your local DIY store)
- In a bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, sage, garlic, red pepper flakes, 11⁄2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, and lemon zest. Pat the chicken dry and place it in a baking dish. Rub the herb mixture all over the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Double-wrap the bricks in heavy duty foil (this is your workout for the day). Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the canola oil, then add the chicken, skin-side down, and weight it down with the bricks. (If they don’t all fit comfortably, use 2 pans, or cook in batches.) Cook, without moving the chicken, for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the underside is crisped and mahogany brown (don’t lift it, which means be a more patient person than me).
- Remove the bricks, flip the chicken, weight it down with the bricks again, and continue to cook until the underside is browned and the meat is cooked through, 7 to 9 minutes. (If the skin on the first side seemed too dark, reduce the heat to medium. To check if the meat is done, pierce the thickest part with a knife; if the juices that come out have no pink, it’s done.)
- Remove the chicken from the pan, add the quartered lemons, and sear until slightly charred and caramelized, about 2 minutes per side. Serve the chicken with more salt to taste and the charred lemons for squeezing.