This finger-licking-good chicken tabaka is a Georgian national dish that yields juicy meat and a crispy skin. It is pan-fried whole, using a press down method.
Course Main Course
Prep Time 20minutes
Cook Time 40minutes
Total Time 1hour
1small to medium chickenor 2 Cornish hen or 4 chicken leg quarters
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2teaspoonfreshly ground pepper
1/2teaspoonsweet or smoked paprika
6garlic clovespeeled and crushed
Rinse and pat dry the chicken. With a sharp knife, slice down the middle of the breastbone, to separate the rib cage (backbone should remain in one piece), then using strong kitchen shears cut the breastbone from the chicken. Open the chicken up like a book and press down on the backbone to flatten the carcass.
Rub the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Mix together the lemon juice and spices. Rub the lemon- spice mixture all over the chicken.
Heat a large skillet with the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the skillet, skin side up. Cover the chicken with a piece of parchment or wax paper (you can also use a heat-resistant plate). Place a heavy cast iron skillet or any type of skillet on top of the chicken and weigh it down with cans of food, bricks, rocks or anything heavy. (I placed a pot filled with water on my chicken and then set a cast iron skillet with a lid on top of the pot). Cook the chicken for 20-25 minutes.
Remove the weight and carefully flip chicken skin side down; distribute crushed garlic cloves evenly around it. Fry for 15-20 minutes more or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy brown. Discard the garlic cloves.
Depending on the size of your chicken, keep turning and cooking the chicken for additional 10-15 minutes if necessary. The chicken is done when you pierce it into the thickest part and its juices run clear.
Serve with Tkemali sauce and the side course of your choice.
~ Free Tip ~ Pound the chicken with a meat tenderizer to flatten it even more.