Crispy, tender chicken legs

preparation time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 90 minutes
emergency contact: camille

crispy chicken legs

This is sort of a poor man’s version of Carol’s Mediterranean chicken. The dish takes minimal preparation and has no real set list of ingredients. Other than the chicken legs, the only requirement is some vegetable that releases liquid as it cooks — if you don’t have tomatoes handy, several large bell peppers (as pictured above) or zucchini also work.

chicken legs – 4, jointed
shallots – 3 or 4, minced (substitute onion or leek)
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground coriander seed
basil – ripped up
tomatoes – 2 large handfuls of cherry or plum, roughly chopped
red chilli pepper – 1, finely chopped
optional: potatoes (sliced finely) or cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

Rinse the chicken pieces and pat them dry with a paper towel. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and coriander seed.

If you’re using potatoes, wash them and cut into 1/2-cm slices, place slices in a glass baking dish and toss with some olive, salt and pepper.

Toss in all the basil leaves and stalks, shallots, chilli and tomatoes (throw in cannellini beans at this point too, if using). Drizzle with more olive oil. Lay the chicken pieces on top, skin side up, and push them down slightly so the meaty parts are in the tomatoes. Rub a bit of olive oil onto the exposed chicken skin. Place in the oven for 1.5 hours. About halfway through cooking, take the pan out to agitate the veg a bit and ensure even cooking. At this stage, also make sure that the chicken pieces are still “immersed” in the veg and liquid, but that their skins are exposed so that they crisp up. The dish is done when the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone.

If you have leftovers, pull the meat off the bone, shred it, and put it back into the veg to toss with pasta the next day.

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