This recipe comes from Georgia, formerly of the Soviet Union. The backbone of the marinated chicken is removed so that it lays flat on the grill (or in this case, in a cast iron skillet) and is cooked quickly to sear and crisp the skin, but ensure the meat is tender and juicy inside. Originally, an outdoor "grill" was set up outside, by laying two lines of bricks. Inside the canal were laid pebbles or stones. Then coals were heated and placed on top of the stones. Kebabs, on skewers, were laid across the bricks and the meat cooked over the hot coals. To make the tabaka, a large flat stone was heated and placed over the coals. The chicken was placed on the stone and weighted down with more bricks. I have a Georgian seasoning mix that I purchased in a European market that I use for this dish. It contains: paprika, curcuma (which is probably turmeric), and dehydrated vegetables (carrot, garlic, chili peppers, onion). It is a little spicy, but not what I would call hot.
- Prepare chicken and place in a large, covered bowl or a large ziploc baggie.
- Combine oil, garlic, seasoning; squeeze in the juice of the lemon, then slice it in about 4 large slices and throw in also.
- Pour marinade over chicken and massage in to chicken (I loosen the breast skin, without removing, and rub some under there as well).
- Let marinate overnight, or at lease a couple of hours.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
- Remove chicken from marinade and season all over with salt and pepper, then place in hot skillet.
- Weight chicken down with another cast iron skillet (you can use any type of skillet, if necessary, and weight THAT down with cans or bricks or something).
- Cook 10 minutes, then turn over and return weight; keep cooking 10 minutes and turning until chicken is crispy and cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes (will register 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer).