I always love an excuse to buy a new ingredient (currently looking for a UK supplier of mahlab for a Claudia Roden recipe)

or even better, a new bit of kitchen equipment, so I loved Anthony’s recipe which involved buying a chicken brick way back in August 2016.

I wrote about the excitement of this purchase and dreamed of all the things I would cook in it.  I have used it precisely ONCE since then (I made a loaf of bread in it).  Shame on me.  I have my eye on an Eartha Kitt recipe for a rabbit cooked in a chicken brick though…

My lovely penpal Kristen Frederickson (author of the fabulous cookbook Tonight at 7.30)

and lovely blog Kristen in London offered to test this recipe for the Cooking With Columbo book

and her feedback cracked me up.  She had ISSUES with her chicken brick (she too bought one just for this recipe).  Here is hers…

Here’s Kristen’s feedback…
The first problem was that my chicken did not fit in my chicken brick!  I’d thought only to measure diameter, not “height,” and consequently the lid would not fit on top of the dear bird.  I’m a bit dubious about ever finding a chicken that short, but I will try.  As a result, I decided to wrap the bottom of the brick, chicken inside, in several layers of foil, then put the lid on top.
The sauce was INCREDIBLY delicious, perfection, and I would say that you could skip the step of passing the cooked sauce and the reserved sour cream through the blender again.  It just didn’t seem necessary and I had already washed my blender!  The sauce as it came from the cooking dish was perfectly smooth and I just whisked it together with the reserved sour cream in a little saucepan to heat.  Perfect.
However.  The chicken was not cooked through to tenderness, in fact we couldn’t eat the dark meat at all at supper (will recook it for lunch tomorrow, I think!).  The breast meat was a bit tough and just cooked through.  I was skeptical at the outset at the idea of roasting a whole chicken for only 90 minutes, and I was correct.  My confusion is, though, perhaps it would have worked if the brick had been able to be all the way sealed?  Although I think the foil should have done the trick, if the time had been long enough.  I myself roast a chicken for 2 1/2 hours, at 350F/180C, rather than Anthony’s suggestion of 90 minutes at 400F/200C.
So there are my findings so far.  I have set myself the task of locating a tiny chicken, and will try again, with an eye toward whether that makes 90 minutes enough cooking time.
And we watched the episode with supper!  It actually stood the test of time very well, except for Anthony’s Extreme Hair Blowdry which was so dated and funny.  But he’s just such a great actor – the perfect episode for us!
Anthony with his, “Extreme Hair Blowdry” in Columbo Goes to the Guillotine
Kristen is, like me, obsessed with cooking and it did not surprise me to get an email a few days later from her saying this…
I carried my chicken brick bravely to the butcher yesterday and we ascertained what chicken would fit, so I’m picking it up tomorrow for weekend cooking. 
A few days later, this arrived in my inbox, I meant to report – I finally got ahold of a chicken small enough to be housed in my Chicken Brick and roasted it for 2 hours at 200, and it was the most perfect roasted chicken ever!  So I think we can safely say that the yoghurt recipe would have the chicken cooked perfectly also in those conditions. 
So there you have it chums.  Get yourself a chicken brick, take it to the butcher and buy a chicken to fit, maybe roast it a little longer as Kristen suggests and you too can have a perfectly roasted chicken Anthony Andrews style!
Here’s one I made earlier – just about to go in the oven.  Extreme Hair Blowdry in evidence here too…
Here’s Anthony’s chicken recipe – don’t forget if you are using a chicken brick, that it goes into a COLD oven.  Weird but true.
Kristen – have you made anything else in that chicken brick yet?!


Anthony Andrews’ Spicy Yogurt Chicken Cooked in a Brick

1 chicken
1 3⁄4 scant cups / 400g plain/natural yogurt – divided use
2 tablespoons fresh mint
2 x 1-inch pieces of fresh ginger
1 large clove garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spices [pre-made mix in the UK of spices such as cinnamon, coriander, caraway, nutmeg, ginger, cloves]

Put just over 1 cup / 230g of the natural yogurt into a blender and add all of the ingredients that follow. Process.

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

Put chicken and sauce in a chicken brick, pre-soaked in water, and place in a COLD oven. Switch temperature to 400 degrees F / 205 degrees C / 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 a blender; add remaining yogurt and blend. Warm gently on top of the stove and pour over chicken.

Anthony suggests serving with brown rice or new potatoes and a green salad.

Serves 4

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