This recipe for Brick Chicken with Mustard Greens is adapted from one of my favorite Brooklyn restaurants, Marlow and Sons in Williamsburg. The daily menu consists of cheeses, oysters, charcuterie, and a few select entrees, but it's supplemented daily with a host of specials created with seasonality and sustainability in mind. Marlow's Brick Chicken has been on the menu since the beginning of the restaurant's conception. It's a simple dish that showcases Marlow's strengths—perfectly cooked proteins and raw, seasoned greens.
The dish begins with an organic chicken (preferably locally raised) that needs to be halved and freed of its backbone, ribcage, and thigh bones. This is one of those cases where you should listen to the recipe and ask your butcher for help—partially deboning a chicken is not as simple as you might assume. Once your prepped chicken is salted and peppered, it's time to ready your pans, first heating canola and olive oils in a cast iron, then readying your "brick pan." The brick pan is really a secondary iron skillet piled with a few cans adding up to 20 pounds of pressure. The heated cast iron combined with the weight of the second skillet creates an environment that cooks the semi deboned bird in less than a half hour with skin that's incredibly crisp and flesh that has no chance of overcooking.
The quick deglaze with lemon juice and chicken stock gives the chicken a bright hit of acidity and a bit of extra moisture that seeps out when it's plated. The mustard greens dressed with sherry vinegar lend a wonderful raw, peppery element, especially when the pan juices from the chicken mingle with the oil and vinegar on the plate. If you're looking to add a starchy element to round out the meal, all you really need is a few slices of crusty bread or, if you're feeling ambitious, a scoop of buttery mashed potatoes or creamy polenta.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The New Brooklyn Cookbook to give away this week.
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- One 3- to 4-pound organic chicken, halved, with the backbone, rib cage, and thigh bones removed (the butcher will do this for you)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup homemade chicken stock or prepared low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 bunch mustard greens (about 1 pound), washed, stems removed, and leaves cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the canola oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken halves to the skillet, skin side down. Place another 10-inch skillet, right side up, on top of the chicken and gently place a heavy brick or soup cans in the top skillet to weigh it down. The weight should be at least 20 pounds.
Reduce the heat to medium high and cook the chicken until the skin is golden brown and crisp, about 18 minutes. Remove the top skillet and weights, turn the chicken with tongs, and pour off any excess fat from the skillet.
Add the chicken stock and lemon juice and cook the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160°F, about 3 minutes.
While the chicken finishes cooking, prepare the mustard greens. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the sherry vinegar. Add the greens and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the chicken and mustard greens with the pan juices.