The concept for flattened chicken is shared by many cuisines. It, perhaps, is most commonly associated with Georgian cuisine and Italian cuisine, where it is called “Chicken Under a Brick.” In Russia, it is called Tabaka. My husband says it more like “tobacco” and said if there is tobacco in the recipe skip it, ha ha ha! What a jokemeister!
Tabaka (Tobacco Chicken)
- 2 Cornish game hens
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- salt (to taste}
- cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
Wash hens and pat dry with paper toweling. Place on a cutting board and with a sharp knife slice down the breastbone to separate the rib cage. Do not slice all the way through the hen because you want it in one piece. Turn the hens over and flatten. Make a small slit in the lower edge of each breast and push the drumstick end through the slit. Now make a slit in the top of the breast and push the wing tip through that. Flatten the hen once more.’
Rub the hens all over with the garlic. Season liberally with salt and sprinkle with cayenne.
Melt butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Turn the hens around in the skillet to butter all sides. Cook skin side up for 5 minutes, then turn skin side down. Place a weighted plate or another cast iron skillet on top and cook for about 20 minutes until skin is brown and a bit crusty. Turn hens, replace weight, and cook an additional 5 minutes.