Enjoy this simple summer supper, Brick Chicken with Summer Succotash, but first let’s talk about my husband’s BACON PRESS! Do you have a bacon press?? If not, it’s ok. Please don’t even allow the slightest inferiority complex over this question, because, as a matter of fact, my husband is one of the few lucky individuals I know who can answer yes to this question. AND I can tell you that is because I gave it to myself for his birthday one year that he even has one! Brick Chicken is one of those dishes that is so good because of one simple added element to the cooking process. Placing weight on the chicken as it cooks, skin side down, crisps the outside skin and sears in the juices and flavors. It cooks quickly, too, because the weight (whether it is a bacon press or a brick covered in foil), gets hot and provides heat from the top as well as the heat from the grill or cast iron skillet on the bottom. This preparation is the perfect accompaniment to a summer succotash. The combination of a medley of seasonal vegetables like field peas (which are actually beans!!), corn and tomatoes responds beautifully to a grilled brick chicken! The process begins with removing the backbone of the chicken and cutting it in half, longitudinally. I also am fond of quarter of chicken cooked under a brick, and so you may decide to cook a leg and thigh quarter or a breast quarter. The next step is to dry rub the meat with some olive oil and “air dry” in the refrigerator for a little while. This will allow the flavors of your herbs to be infused into the chicken (if you want, you can slip some fresh herbs into the space between the skin and the flesh to increase this flavor transfer). Air drying also helps to get the skin extra crispy during the cooking process.
Using a cast iron skillet or placing it on the grill, either way, it should go on a pre-heated pan/grill surface SKIN SIDE DOWN first. The skin will crisp up beautifully in no time!
While the chicken cooks, (taking no longer that 30 minutes!), the veggies for the succotash are all ready to go. A simple summer succotash should be prepared al-dente, or with some tooth to the veggies, so total cooking time should be no more than 15 minutes. Simply start the diced onion in the pan in a bit of olive oil to soften for a few minutes, then add the field peas.
The field peas will need some liquid to become tender, so I add a bit of chicken stock and let them simmer for 10 minutes.
Test the peas for that al dente doneness, then add the remaining vegetables and continue to simmer for about five minutes.
Finish the succotash with your favorite summer herbs, chopped coarsely (I prefer genovese basil), and a small dollop of butter (really small – this is for silkiness and flavor so you only need to add about half a tablespoon!) then adjust the seasonings of salt and pepper! The plating of the dish is so beautiful! The succotash, topped with the crispy skinned chicken, puts some serious flavor on the table. The juice of the chicken will add to the flavorful succotash as it placed on top, and all will be well with the world for a moment as you dive in and enjoy this simple summer supper!
The recipe can be found on the website here, and the pastured chicken can be purchased as part of our Stillwater Farm Variety Meat Package. If you live close enough, the shipping is free!