Chicken legs or drumsticks are perhaps the chicken pieces which give chicken wings the biggest run for their money in terms of popularity. A perfect finger food, chicken legs can be deep fried, shallow fried, barbecued or grilled. They can also be baked in the oven in one of two principal ways. The recipes below are for chicken drumsticks baked in the oven in the form of a casserole and for chicken legs roasted in the oven in a slightly more traditional fashion.
Casseroled chicken drumsticks
This recipe sees the chicken drumsticks incorporated in a stock, in a casserole dish, and cooked in the oven, preheated to 350F, for forty-five to fifty minutes.
Ingredients (serves two)
12 small chicken drumsticks, skin on
1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
1 medium carrot, topped, tailed, scraped and cut in to one inch chunks
½ teaspoon dried tarragon or 1 teaspoon of fresh, roughly chopped
2 pints fresh chicken stock
Sea salt and white pepper
Wash the chicken drumsticks and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Place them carefully in to a large casserole dish with a lid. Add the onion, carrot and tarragon and season with the salt and pepper. Stir gently but well with a large wooden spoon. You may wish to gently heat the stock in a saucepan before adding it to the chicken legs but this is not essential. Put the lid on the dish and put it in the oven.
After three-quarters of an hour, remove the casserole from the oven. Carefully take off the lid and remove one of the chicken drumsticks with cooking tongs. Sit it on a plate and pierce it with a skewer to make sure the juices run clear. If so, return it to the dish and leave uncovered to rest for ten minutes. If there remains any pink or red in the juices, put back in the oven for five or ten minutes before testing again in the same way.
This chicken drumstick casserole could be served simply as it is, perhaps with some bread for dipping in the juices, or with mashed potatoes or boiled rice and herbs.
Oven roasted chicken leg portions
When you think of chicken legs, it may well be that you automatically think only of chicken drumsticks, the lower part of the leg. Technically, however, a chicken leg also includes the thigh of the chicken and this recipe is for roasting whole chicken leg portions. Your oven should be preheated to 375F and the roasting time should be about thirty minutes.
Ingredients (serves two)
2 whole chicken legs, skin on
Lay the chicken legs skin side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and rub the oil evenly in to the skin with your hands. This makes for more even crisping of the skin and much better final presentation on the plate. Season with sea salt. Put the tray in to the oven and bake for half an hour before performing the skewer test on the thickest part of the thigh to ensure the legs are cooked. Try serving them with some homemade fries for an incredibly simple but tasty meal.
Both these basic recipes are widely open to experimentation and development. A wide range of vegetables and herbs could be included in the casserole, while the chicken leg portions could be dry marinated in spices for a couple of hours prior to being roasted. Why not have a think and see what variations you can come up with to suit the specific tastes of your family?