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Dec 29, 2001 01:26 PM

Chicken press

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We received an Italian, terra-cotta, stovetop chicken press for Christmas. The instructions are sketchy and not too helpful. Has anyone ever used one of these things? How DOES one cook a chicken on it? Or something other than a chicken, for that matter?

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  1. Look for recipes called some variation of : chicken under a brick". Don't know where this came from, but it is a classic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MarkB

      It's a chicken, splayed in half with the backbone removed (remarkably easy to do) and then pan-fried or grilled. Crack the thigh joint too, so it lays flat. I don't know about the classic Italian recipe, but use your favorite marinade and grill away.

      A foil-wrapped brick works just fine. The point is to flatten out the meat so that it cooks evenly and stays moist. It is my favorite way to grill chicken.

    2. Might also help to look for the recipe under its Italian name, which is pollo al mattone. Hope I spelled it right!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Brooks

        Bob, thanks. A google search under pollo al mattone has turned up several similar -- but clearer -- recipes.

      2. Chicken Press? Hunh? Isn't that another name for yellow journalism?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Olympia Jane
          Christopher Oliver

          I thought the chicken press was a weight lifting
          exercise using a gunny sack of live fowl in place
          of a barbell.

        2. Are you speaking of a hinged contraption consisting of two terra cotta paddles, slightly concave. You put the meat between them, put over the fire, and cook away. I think they are for any kind of meat, but what I've seen are too small for a whole chicken. I believe they were an old method of cooking steaks and things over a wood fire.

          1. There is an excellant recipe in Patricia Wells Trattoria cookbook on page 218. She aslo gives a good half page of narritive on it.