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Pollo al mattone – Chicken cooked between terra-cotta

Literally, this recipe translate as “chicken with a brick”, so called because the chicken is flattened down with a brick during grilling.  This not only reduces cooking time, but also keeps the chicken tender and moist.

A mattone is a special device made in terra cotta for cooking a chicken on the stovetop, withouting having to use a brick or a grill.

The recipe is quite straightforward: the chickens are spatchcocked (butterflied), and then cooked in the mattone.


  • a chicken, the best free range quality you can find/afford, butterflied
  • 1 dessertspoon olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 lemon (optional)
Ask your butcher to prepare the chicken for you, or have a look at this video if you want to give it a try.
Lightly oil the bottom part of the mattone and place it over a gas burner, using a flame tamer.  Place the top part also over a burner, again with a flame tamer.  Make sure both parts get very hot (allow 15 minutes).
Sprinkle a large pinch of salt over the bottom part of the mattone.  Rub the chicken with some salt, pepper and the rosemary leaves and place it on the bottom part of the terra cotta pot.  Cover with the top part and let cook for about 40 minutes, turning the chicken over every 10 minutes.
Serve with some extra olive oil drizzled over the chicken, and a lemon wedge.

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