Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Devil's Chicken - Pollo alla Diavola

This recipe is very ancient, very simple but delicious.

  • Chicken with the skin
  • freshly ground pepper
  • salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
1] Wash and dry the whole chicken with the skin. Cut from the back along the spine so that the breast remains whole, and open flat. Remove the keel bone carefully and cut, from the inside, the soft breastbone in the middle, so that the chicken stays flat. Do not cut down to the skin.

2] Sprinkle lots of freshly ground black pepper inside and out on the skin, and salt to taste. Place in a frying pan, with the breast down, with a couple of spoons of extra virgin olive oil, cover with a lid smaller than the pan [removing the handle], or a dish upside down, anything that keeps the chicken pressed. Put a weight on top [like a pot full of water - about 3 or 4 pounds heavy] so that the chicken remains pressed. The chicken has to be kept pressed, flat and covered so that some humidity stays inside and the chicken will not burn while cooking. Okay, i am sorry that's not easy to explain, i hope that's enough clear.

3] I put it over medium heat and i do not touch it for at least 20 minutes, then i turn it the other side, and again a couple of times [not more] until it is completely cooked and nicely roasted.

Cooking time: not more than one hour, but it depends how big is the chicken.
Sometimes i add a couple of whole garlic cloves, or red chili flakes, or rosemary, but never all together.

Nothing else is necessary, and i know that many people will find that cooking only with oil, garlic, salt and pepper can't be interesting, but that's a prejudice. So, before deciding that for this chicken you need wine, vermouth, mustard, herbs or whatever else you are going to find on the web, please try the original version.

I used to make this recipe quite often in Italy because it was my favorite recipe for chicken, but in India there are problems. The skin of Indian chickens is melting very easily because very soft, has no consistency, it tears with no effort, and i never understood why. Besides, in India the chicken is usually sold skinless when in pieces, thighs/breast, but if you buy the whole chicken you may get it with the skin, and for this recipe the skin is essential because it is tasty and keeps the chicken moist juicy.
I tried once without skin [because i forgot to remind to Liz that i wanted a chicken with the skin - how many times am i supposed to go on telling the same thing again and again?] but, once cooked, the flesh was hard, crusty and dry, obviously.

For this dish i used only thighs and wings. With the breast i am going to make chicken pakoras.


  1. yeaaah you just made me remember the chicken cooked in this way ... moreover l dont even eat chicken ... it is rare but here l just remembered, actually even feeling it in my mouth, the taste of the crunchy and golden skin just like the french-pan .. crunchy outside and yummy inside ... yeah l enjoyed more on the skin than the meat!

  2. Nice blog! Great work.
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    Poultry Farming
    Methods of Modern Farming



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