Thursday, 20 February 2014

Toss 'em in the oven legs

I love chicken legs. In terms of the chicken's life, the freer the better for the meat. The chicken legs from the Ginger pig are from Packington poultry I believe, who produce some pretty good giant, meaty legs; however, as much as I hate to champion a product from a supermarket over a local shop, the best chicken legs I have ever eaten were bought from Ocado and produced by The Black Farmer. They are so free range they border on wild and one can certainly tell this from the meat - the meat is dark, chewy and rich (if I didn't know it was chicken I would have guessed game).
I have found though that most chicken legs (providing they are from a decent free range origin) are pretty fail-safe when chucked in the oven. And that is what is so great about them, they are the ultimate easy Saturday night fare. I rarely plan what I am going to do with them, instead preferring to simply put "chicken legs" on my weekly planner then toss in whichever spices/veg I feel like/have at the time. The following recipe I really enjoyed and so jotted it down...

Chicken legs baked with olives, tomatoes and preserved lemon
- Serves 2

- large free range chicken legs, 2
- tomatoes, chopped into sixths, 4 or 5
- good quality black olives, handful
- peeled garlic cloves, 4
- cumin seeds, tsp
- caraway seeds, tsp
- preserved lemon skin, a quarter of a lemon
- olive oil, 2 tbsp
- sherry vinegar, tbsp
- parsley, small handful

Preheat an oven to 190 degrees. Drizzle one tbsp of the oil into a large roasting tin and place the chicken legs in the centre. Scatter in the tomatoes and olives. Lightly crush each garlic clove and toss in along with thinly sliced strips of preserved lemon. Toast the seeds in a small dry pan for a few minutes till fragrant, then place in a pestle and mortar. Give them a light bashing, just enough to unsettle them rather than grind. Scatter over the roasting tin along with the remaining oil, red wine vinegar and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
Cook in the oven for around 40-45 minutes till cooked through. When removed, allow to rest for 5-10 minutes then place each leg on a plate and lift out the remaining bits to serve alongside. Scatter with parsley before serving

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