Posted by: debrakolkka | August 2, 2010

Pollo Mattone – Brick Chicken – Yum

One of our favourite things to order at Ristorante Vinicio, across the river from our apartment in Bagni di Lucca is pollo mattone, or brick chicken as the English call it.  It is half a chicken sort of flattened between 2 hot surfaces.  It is delicious.  Marco serves it by itself with a piece of lemon to squeeze over it.  It is quite salty and there is always a hint of rosemary.

One day while wandering through Lucca I saw in a shop window, a terracotta device accompanied by a sign – pollo mattone.  I immediately purchased said device and later carried the almost 4 kilo item home to Australia with me.  I have experimented a couple of times and while I haven’t duplicated Marco’s brick chicken, I think it was pretty good.

the dish

nearly 4 kilos with the lid

I started with a small chicken which had been butterflied and marinated in fennel, garlic and chilli – not by me.  I bought it already prepared at the Powerhouse markets from an organic chicken supplier.  I put the dish and lid in the oven at 220 degrees and let it get hot.  In the meantime, I browned both sides of the chicken in a frying pan.  I then placed the browned chicken in the dish, put the lid on top and cooked it for about half an hour.  The cooking time would depend on the size of the chicken.  This one was quite small and cooked well in half an hour. 

Allora! - pollo mattone

We have a winner!!!


  1. My mouth’s watering just looking at your delicious chicken. Mangiare felice – is that the right Italian term for “happy eating”?

  2. speechless – and drooling

  3. We had Marco’s brick chicken the first night we were in Ponte A Serraglio – big mistake! We waited for about an hour and we had just arrived from Australia. I fell asleep at the table. My recollections are unfortunately not so fond as it was dry – certainly didn’t look as delicious as yours – I think he forgot he was cooking it!

    • Hi Pam,
      I’m sorry you had a bad experience with the brick chicken at Marco’s. I have had it many times and it is the one thing that our visitors comment on the most. Maybe you need to go back just to try it again.

  4. I have always wanted one of these when shopping in Italy and John wouldn’t let me…too heavy to carry home so only solution is to buy a place in Italy so I don’t have far to go! Roz

    • That sounds like an excellent idea!

  5. I’ve seen those dishes in my travels & never knew exactly what recipe they were made for. Now I know & I must have one. Brick chicken sounds pretty fabulous too 🙂

  6. Am going to try it asap! Sounds absolutely delicious!!

  7. That is a thing of beauty and I just know I would be a better cook if I had one of those. It beats hands down my bbq’d besser block chicken, but in my defence, it did have a certain bucolic style.

  8. How cool does that look? :O I feel like I should not go on another day without trying a dish like this! 😛

  9. Debra – your pollo is different from Mirella’s – she puts the brick right on top of the chicken and it does dry the skin of the chicken – yours eems lie it’as broiled. We’ll have to try it when you are here in Sept

  10. il pollo al mattone di marco è unico ,ed i mattoni che schiacciano il pollo mentre sta cuocendo sono apposta e particolari, è vero ci vogliono circa trenta minuti per cuocere il pollo; ma se fosse tutto più semplice non sarebbe ……”IL POLLO AL MATTONE DI MARCO” ciao a presto

    • Mi piace molto “Il pollo al mattone di Marco” ma non posso mangiare quando sto in Australia. Torno a Settembre.

  11. I too did a pollo mattone using Deb’s utensil in much the same way as Deb did. Marco’s seems crisper and maybe he uses more olive oil because it has the appearance of fried chicken whereas ours was of a different texture – maybe this was also because it was marinated??? Anyway it was as Deb says ….. molto saporito

  12. I use a cast iron skillet and 2 garden bricks wrapped in foil. Works but does not look nearly as cool as Marco’s !

    • I’m sure it is effective, but one of Marco’s bricks would be excellent.

  13. […] here to see my feeble attempts at brick […]

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