Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

Notes from the kitchen | Monday chicken legs with spring onions and ginger

15 November 2018

Monday night. Eternal, tedious, domestic conundrum — what to make for dinner? Feeding six requires labour, always. The simplest thing — grating cheese for all the pasta — takes a while.

Forever torn between fantasies of heady stews and lack of time, I go into the butcher’s dreaming of oxtail and grab chicken legs instead. It’s the quickest path to a braised (style) dish. It requires little foresight or planning, barely a thought. There will at the very least be garlic and lemon in the house.

As it happens, today we also have spring onions and celery, ginger and tamari. What began as a resignation, an easy way to finish odds and ends at the bottom of the fridge, has become a legitimate meal, an instant favourite. And with Balthasar’s retro / disco playlist in the background, there may even have been some dancing around the kitchen table.

Chicken legs with spring onions and ginger
Serves 6

6 chicken legs (whole or separated into thighs and drumsticks)
A large chunk of ginger
One bunch — 6 or 7 — spring onions (scallions)
4 or 5 celery stalks
1 small lemon or lime
1 whole head of garlic
Neutral flavored oil
Toasted sesame seed oil
Light soy sauce (or salt)
Tamari soy sauce
Rice vinegar

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator so it has time to come to room temperature.

Prepare the ‘vegetables’:
Peel the ginger and slice it into matchsticks.

For the spring onions, cut off the ends, remove one outer layer, wash, and cut into three.

Top and tail the celery stalks, wash, and cut into pieces of similar length to the spring onions.

Wash, halve lengthwise, and thinly slice the lemon (or lime) into half moons.

Smash the head of garlic with your palm to open it up. Crush each clove with the side of a large knife and remove the skin, which will come off easily.

Pour some oil at the bottom of an oven dish large enough to fit all the pieces of chicken with space to spare. *The pieces should not be too crowded or the skin wil not become crispy.* Scatter all the vegetables at the bottom of the pan, toss with a little oil, and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Coat the chicken legs with sesame sauce.

Once the vegetables have been roasting for about 15 minutes, add the chicken legs to the pan and season everything with a few hits each of light soy sauce, tamari, and rice vinegar.

Roast the chicken for 40 to 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the juice, until brown and crispy on the outside and fully cooked (i.e. juices run clear) inside.

If possible, let the chicken sit for a few minutes. Serve with rice.

Roast chicken with lemon and fennel seeds

6 January 2011

Some years ago I discovered that a chicken could be seasoned under the skin with salt, pepper, butter, and herbs. It makes for excellent roast chicken, and I decided it would be the only way to go in the future. But it is also a bit finicky, and somehow roasting a chicken became an unwieldy affair in my mind.

Until recently, when I came across good chickens from Epicurean Farms. They are fairly small, very tasty, and usually sold whole. So I started roasting again and rediscovered that it is actually probably the easiest way to cook these animals, especially if you are not chopping herbs and delicately stuffing them under the skin. Now roasting a chicken seems effortless like an afterthought; it can be done for lunch or dinner, or after dinner – at anytime, really, since it is excellent cold, especially with green tomato chutney.

Chickens can be stuffed with any combination of herbs, garlic, or onion on hand and I usually add a lemon, slashed so it releases its juices. This version with fennel seeds was a staple in our house when I was growing up.


1 whole chicken

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp fennel seeds

1 small lemon

2 small garlic cloves



Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. If you remember to do it in advance, let the chicken sit uncovered in the refrigerator for a few hours so the skin dries out before roasting.

Season the cavity of the chicken with salt, pepper, and fennel seeds.

Poke the lemon with a fork multiple times on all sides and stuff it into the chicken with the whole, skin-on garlic cloves. Truss or just bind the legs together with kitchen string. Massage the chicken all over with softened butter and season the outside again with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on a roasting pan and into the oven for 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C) then lower to 375° (190°C) and roast for 40-50 minutes, depending on the size of the bird (large chickens may need to cook even longer — pull away one thigh and if the flesh at the joint is still translucent pink, cook a little longer).

Let rest 10-15 minutes before carving. Squeeze the lemon over the pieces of chicken before serving.


Related posts

Braised chicken legs with cherry tomatoes

Braised chicken legs with cherry tomatoes

3 October 2010

Tomatoes were everywhere at the market this week. Red, yellow, cherry, heirloom, green – it was hard to concentrate on anything else, especially knowing that tomatoes will be the first to disappear from the fall bounty. When I got home I realized I had bought only tomatoes.

The little cherry tomatoes from Keith’s Farm were very ripe and burst from the sun, and they immediately brought to mind a meal prepared by my friend Kate a few years ago: braised drumsticks with cherry tomatoes and lots of garlic. She made it in a large round earthenware dish she had just brought back from Morocco. It was stunningly beautiful and delicious. I’ve never asked Kate for the recipe but I have attempted to recreate it and make it quite regularly.


For 4

Olive oil

8 chicken thighs and drumsticks (or alternatively, only thighs or only drumsticks)

2 medium onions (red or yellow)

Cherry tomatoes

7 or 8 whole garlic cloves with skin

2 bay leaves

Fresh basil, marjoram, or oregano according to taste or availability


Preheat oven to 350°F (170°C)

In a large skillet heat olive oil and brown the chicken, a few pieces at a time. **When browning meat it’s important not to overcrowd the pan (the meat releases water and if the pan is too crowded it will stew rather than brown) and to let the meat get really nice and brown, which might take 7 to 10 minutes (light golden is not enough to caramelize and bring out the flavors).**

Remove chicken legs and set aside.

Thinly slice onions and add to pan in which you just browned the chicken (with a little more olive oil if necessary). Season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden.

In a large ovenproof dish make a bed with the onions,* add bay leaves and herbs, then the pieces of chicken, which should fit snugly without overlapping. Season with salt and pepper. Poke the cherry tomatoes with a fork or tip of a knife so the juice can escape, and throw them with the garlic cloves over the chicken. Season again. Place in oven and let simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes. The meat should fall off the bone.

*To limit the number of pans used and if the skillet is ovenproof, leave the onions in the skillet, add the herbs, chicken, tomatoes, and garlic, and slide it in the oven.


Related posts

Roast chicken with lemon and fennel seeds

Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, mozarella, and basil


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