Chicken Tabaka is a favorite throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It is a traditional Georgian fried or roasted chicken dish. The chicken is flattened in the pan or deep cast iron skillet with anything you can find to weigh it down…including bricks! It’s a great way to cook a whole chicken quickly and to seal the wonderful juices inside the chicken to keep it nice and tender.
Generally speaking, the process tends to work better with smaller birds but remember the larger the bird, the larger the skillet you’ll need because the chicken cooks flat.
Past Featured Chef, Russ Crandall shares this finger licking Chicken Tabaka recipe from his Heritage Cookbook. Enjoy!
Recipe Author: Russ Crandall | The Domestic Man from The Heritage Cookbook
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp granulated onion
- 1 whole chicken (3-4 lbs), small and young preferred, wing tips removed
- juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tbsp), divided
- 1/4 cup ghee or avocado oil
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Instructions For Chicken Tabaka
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, paprika, pepper, and granulated onion. Face the chicken breast-side-up; using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, slice the chicken lengthwise through the breastbone to separate the rib cage. Flip the chicken over, then press the chicken down flat. Squeeze half of the lemon all over the chicken, then rub on the spice mixture.
- Warm the ghee in a 12” cast-iron skillet over medium heat, then add the chicken, cut-side-down. Cover the chicken with a large plate, then weigh the plate down with something heavy, like a brick, and brown for 5 minutes. Remove the brick and plate, then flip the chicken and return the plate and brick; brown for another 5 minutes. Repeat this process twice more, 5 minutes per side, then reduce heat to medium-low; flip the chicken so that is it cut-side-down and sauté for 10 minutes, then flip and sauté until the meat registers 160F, about 10 more minutes, weighed down with the plate and brick the whole time.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and transfer to a serving dish, skin-side-up, to rest for 10 minutes. While the chicken rests, add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Stir in the rest of the lemon juice, then remove from heat. Pour the garlic sauce over the chicken and serve.
Meet The Chef
A big US Wellness thank you goes out to Russ Crandall, The Domestic Man. At his blog, you’ll find gluten-free and Paleo-friendly recipes. His recipes focus on classic, traditional, and international dishes from a historical, linguistic, and cultural perspective.
Check out his cookbooks! Russ released his debut cookbook, The Ancestral Table: Paleo Recipes for a Traditional Lifestyle, in February 2014, and his second cookbook, The New York Times-bestselling Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites without the Junk, in June 2015. His most recent cookbook was released May 1, 2019, The Heritage Cookbook.