John Legend’s Tuscan Brick Chicken Recipe With Charred Lemons by Ann Marie Patitucci
Have you noticed that musician John Legend and model Chrissy Tiegen are well known not only for their careers in the spotlight but also for their cooking? I think I’m a little late to this party! I’ve only recently discovered their recipes and Chrissy’s three cookbooks. I’m impressed! Some of the recipes are Chrissy’s and some are John’s. The cookbooks include a variety of recipes, such as spicy Italian sausage meatloaf, pineapple grilled short ribs, creamy Parmesan skillet eggs, zucchini fries and more.
One of their recipes that stands out to me is Tuscan Brick Chicken with Charred Lemons. This is John Legend’s recipe, but it sounds like Chrissy might make it frequently herself. She has said that the dish "is so heavily demanded by our loved ones that it drives me to the point of insanity. Good thing it's damn easy."
I’ll be completely honest, I had never before heard of a recipe made with bricks – actual, literal bricks! So this chicken recipe jumped out at me. Chrissy is right; it’s a fairly easy recipe. And a delicious one! If you can accept the fact that you need to obtain actual bricks, wrap those bricks in foil and then place them on top of your chicken, you’ll be glad you did it!
First, it’s a neat experience if you haven’t tried it before. More importantly, the brick technique really does make a difference; it makes the chicken perfectly golden brown and crispy. And then there’s the garlicky lemon herb mixture which flavors the chicken beautifully. You could use this technique on a whole chicken as well (as shown in the photo). Add a side dish of rice or couscous and a vegetable to complete the dinner.
Prep Time: 10 minutes plus time to marinate
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 35 minutes plus time to marinate
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic (about 4 cloves), very finely minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 4 lemons: zest of 2, plus 2 skin-on lemons, quartered
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
Here's how to make it:
- In a bowl, combine olive oil, rosemary, sage, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper and lemon zest. Pat the chicken dry and place it in a baking dish. Rub the mixture all over the chicken, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours (at least 2 hours).
- Double-wrap the bricks in heavy-duty foil (“this is your workout for the day” according to Chrissy Tiegen!). Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add canola oil, then add chicken, skin side down and weigh it down with the bricks. (If the chicken and bricks don't all fit comfortably, use two skillets 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). Remove the bricks, flip the chicken, weigh it down with the bricks again, and continue to cook until the underside is browned and the meat is cooked through, another 7 to 9 minutes. If the skin on the first cooked side seemed too dark for your taste, reduce the heat to medium. To check if the meat is done, pierce the thickest part with a knife; when the juices that come out have no pink, it's done.
- Remove the bricks from the pan, add the quartered lemons and sear until slightly charred and caramelized, about 2 minutes per side. Add more salt, to taste. Serve the chicken with charred lemons for squeezing.
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