What do rainy evenings filled with laughter and wine remind you of? We share a special recipe of roast chicken dipped in a creamy mash for those special occasions with friends.
Who doesn’t love a roast? I certainly do! I think my love affair with the roast started even before I could pronounce its name, at my mother’s dinner table, squabbling with my brother for one more piece of the caramelized meat. Over the years, I have learnt to truss, to sear, to carve, to dress chicken in different marinades; from recipe books, old and new, from TLC on the telly to the world of YouTube. I have burnt some, overcooked more, yet created a few success stories too.
But, this recipe is special! It’s laced with memories of my childhood and more recently, that of an evening with friends. Of a rainy evening in Mumbai, when the breeze that blew strongly through the windows chilled one to the bone. Of an evening spent in the comfort of loved ones; with wine, music, conversation and food! Of an evening where we succumbed to our gustatory pleasures of devouring a main course of apple-walnut-feta salad, roast chicken legs, creamy mash, drunken mushrooms; and chocolate truffles for dessert.
Now, It’s winter. We live in Chennai. And every now and then, I reminisce about that evening with friends…
Roast Chicken Legs
This is a twist on a dry chicken roast that I had eaten in my childhood. For years I have been pestering my mother to tell me the recipe of a chicken roast that she used to make when we were kids. The typical answer would be “I don’t remember. It was all trial and error”. But the researcher in me would not rest, and between multiple conversations I gathered a few key ingredients that were used in the roast. With very little to go by except a persistent memory of a slightly spicy, slightly sweet roast from the past, I set out to make the dish. The following recipe is my take on an old memory:
- 8 Chicken legs (whole, without skin)
- Garlic – 8-10 cloves
- Peppercorn – 10-12
- Paprika – 1 tsp (or more depending on spice preference)
- Butter – 2 tsp
- Worcestershire sauce – 2-3 tbsps
- Barbecue sauce – Jack Daniel’s original– a splosh (optional)
- Honey – 1 tsp
- Lime juice – of half a small lime
- Olive oil – enough to coat the chicken pieces
- Salt (to taste). In a roast, use a higher quantity of salt than you would normally use.
- Rosemary – 2-3 sprigs
- Onions – 8 whole, peeled
Coat the chicken with olive oil and salt.
Prepare the marinade:
- In a mortar pestle, pound the garlic, with the peppercorn and paprika. Add butter and mix.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce, honey and barbecue sauce (if using) and mix further. Worcestershire sauce is slightly tangy and spicy, hence you could add one spoon at a time while making the mix. Taste the mix slightly to check for balance of sweetness, spiciness, and a hint of tang.
- Add the lime juice to the mix. Taste once again.
- Once satisfied with the balance, add the leaves of rosemary to the mix. Rosemary is a strong and distinct flavor, hence, should not be used in excess in this dish
Dress the chicken: Rub the marinade onto the chicken thoroughly. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hr.
Roast the chicken:
- Preheat the oven to 240 deg C. Grease a baking dish/tray slightly with olive oil. Arrange the chicken legs in the dish. Tuck the whole red onions, into the corners and empty spaces, ensuring that all the elements fit snugly.
- Roast the chicken using the Broil/Roast function in the oven for 45-50 minutes.
- Baste the sauces occasionally, to prevent the upper layer from drying.
- Once done, take the baking dish out of the oven. Take out the chicken pieces from the tray and lay into your serving platter. Cover with an aluminum foil and allow the meat to rest for some time.
Reduce the temperature of the oven to 200 deg C. Put the baking tray containing the onions back into the oven and broil for another 10 mins, until the onions caramelize on the outside and its inner peels become soft and tender
Pour the gravy and the onions onto the chicken pieces.
Best served with creamy mash/roasted potatoes, toasted bread and/or salad. Enjoy!
Photo courtesy Indrani
Indrani is a market researcher by profession, a struggling mother of 1 & 1/2 yr old twins and an aspiring writer whose eternal dream is to look like a demi-goddess and still be able to tuck into all the good food the world has to offer! She blogs (irregularly) at Oventop