I have been looking for an Anthony Andrews recipe for ages.  He’s in Columbo:


so I was desperate for a recipe to use in the Cooking With Columbo book.  When I found this recipe I was very excited.  But I didn’t have a “chicken brick”.  In fact, I only vaguely knew what a chicken brick was…  But after a vast amount of googling, going off into black holes involving terracotta, roman cooking vessels and Habitat, I had a pretty good idea.


Chicken bricks were particularly popular in the 1970s in the UK, popularised by the classic home decor shop Habitat.  There is a nice little piece in the Telegraph online about Habitat’s part in the chicken brick craze.  I loved the idea of getting a chicken brick JUST for Anthony’s recipe so I did:


Will I ever use it again?  Who knows?  But the chicken did (as all advocates of cooking chicken in a brick will tell you it does) turn out beautifully moist and delicious.  Anthony does point out that you can make this in a casserole dish too.  But where’s the fun in that?!

I decided to make a special trip to Morley Buchers in Crouch End


for my chicken and I got a lovely Sutton Hoo fella.


Mr R always refers to chicken as chicksen with an S in it.  This is a childhood thing, as his family used to give their doggie bits of leftover chicksen as a treat.  Mr R’s nickname for me is Brixie, because I once had a vivid dream about bricklaying and told him about it in great detail the moment I woke up.  So this dish was christened “Brixie’s Chicksen in a Bricksen.”  It was utterly delicious.

Here it is, about to go in the oven…


and here’s what he looked like when he came out:



Anthony Andrews’ Spiced Yoghurt Chicken Cooked in a Brick

1 chicken

450g natural yoghurt – divided use

2 tablespoons fresh mint

2 x 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces of fresh ginger

1 large clove of garlic

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon mixed spices*

Serves 4

Put 100g of the yoghurt into a blender and add all the above ingredients (except the chicken!).  Process.

Pour mixture over chicken and marinade in the fridge overnight, or during day for an evening meal.

Put chicken and sauce in a chicken brick and place in a COLD oven.  Switch temperature to 400 degrees F, 200 degrees C or Gas Mark 6 and cook for one and a half hours, basting occasionally.

Slice or quarter chicken and keep warm.

Pour juices and sauce from brick into blender and add remaining 150g yoghurt and blend.  Warm gently on top of stove and pour over chicken.

May be cooked in a casserole rather than a brick.  Leave chicken whole and serve sauce separately.  Serve hot or cold.  Serve with brown rice or new potatoes and a green salad.

Note: the only tweak I’ll make to this recipe for the book will be to remind folks who are using a chicken brick to soak it first.  This is the done thing… 

  • here in the UK you can buy “mixed spice” ready made, it’s often an ingredient in cake recipes.  For overseas folks, it’s a mixture of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander.  Schwartz – the best selling brand of spice here – lists the ingredients of their mixed spice blend as follows: Ground Cinnamon (Cassia) (40%), Ground Coriander (38%), Caraway, Nutmeg (4%), Ginger, Cloves.

Ooh, that chicksen was GOOD!


Thanks Mr Andrews!  I am now the proud owner of a chicken brick, and I know how to use it!



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