Twice-Cooked Pan Chicken

Twice-Cooked Pan Chicken
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  • 3 1/2 lb. chicken, cut into eight (8) parts
  • 1-inch fresh rosemary (or 1/3 teaspoon dried)
  • One (1) small clove garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Two (2) tablespoons lemon juice, divided in half
  • Six (6) tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary for garnish


Working Ahead:

Season and marinate the chicken overnight, preferably eighteen (18) to twenty-four (24) hours. Cook the chicken about two (2) hours before dining, keep at room temperature and the reheat as described below.

Make the Marinade:

  1. In a food processor or mortar and pestle, blend the rosemary, garlic, pepper, salt and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.
  2. Rub it all over the chicken and refrigerate overnight or up to twenty-four (24) hours.

First Cooking:
The timing of this is pretty specific, so take care to follow to the minute.

  1. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Place the chicken skin side down and sear for two (2) or three (3) minutes until lightly browned.
  3. Turn the pieces over to coat them with the oil.
  4. Set a 9-inch cake pan on top of the chicken and weigh it down with three (3) or four (4) heavy cans.
  5. After eight (8) minutes, remove the weights and turn the breast pieces.
  6. After ten (10) minutes, turn the leg and thigh pieces.
  7. Sprinkle the chicken with the other tablespoon of lemon juice.
  8. Put the weight back on and cook the breasts another eight (8) minutes and legs/thighs ten (10) minutes.
  9. Then crisp the chicken to a rich dark brown by reducing the heat to medium-low and arranging all the pieces back in the pan, skin side up.
  10. Cook under the weighted pan for another two (2) minutes.
  11. With a slotted spoon or tongs, immediately remove the pieces to a platter. Let the chicken cool, about ten (10) minutes, then lightly cover with foil, then set aside for 2 hours but don’t refrigerate before the second cooking.
  12. Pour out all the fat and replace the pan over high heat.
  13. Pour in the 1/2 cup water. Scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and boil the liquid down by half for about three (3) minutes.
  14. Turn the pan juices into a small bowl and put in the freezer for two (2) hours, then lift off the hardened fat on top.

Second Cooking:

  1. When you’re fifteen (15) minutes from wanting to eat, heat the skillet to medium and put the chicken pieces in, skin side down.
  2. Top with the weight one more time and warm for five (5) minutes.
  3. Set the weight aside and turn the chicken pieces, moistening each piece with the reserved pan juices (which should be slightly gelatinous).
  4. Cover lightly with foil and heat for another eight (8) minutes.
  5. Pile the chicken on a platter, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and garnish with a couple sprigs of rosemary.

Enjoy hot or at room temperature with pasta and/or salads.

This simple, elegant preparation is especially useful for company since it can be prepared mostly ahead of time and needs little last-minute attention.