Growing up, we didn’t eat many chicken legs in my house. We had chicken frequently, but rarely bone-in, skin-on chicken legs. Maybe that was due to the ‘low fat’ obsession that seemed to kick into mainstream popular food culture in the 1990s, but it’s possible that my parents just held something against the delectable, greasy, cheap cut of poultry. Though we did have our fair share our chicken thighs, which remain one of my favorite easy and flavorful mainstays. The praising of chicken breast as a perfect ‘healthy protein’ (low fat!) is an antiquated view to me. For all the hype it received for fitting in perfectly with the supposed benefits of low-fat, high-protein diets, it’s so often severely lacking in flavor and creativity. I will generally rather pimp a can of tuna (fresh thyme and parsley, red pepper, olives, mayo, paprika, tons of shirt and pants!) and eat it with a spoon than figure out how to make a quick, delicious chicken breast. I know there are ways, and great ways, to cook such a pale cut, but I am more apt to go for the cheaper, fattier, succulent chicken legs (skin on of course!).
I feel like I’ve “discovered” chicken legs for myself, and they are a favorite of the moment. I’ve been buying packs of 6 legs for 5 dollars (yes, at Whole Paycheck!) and throwing them into all kinds of marinates, spice rubs, roasting pans and grill grates. They have turned out to be moist and delicious no matter how I cook them, and oven roasting them has been fantastic. My latest success occurred when I found myself with a few preserved Meyer lemons (from Dr. Brown the Pickle Queen, no less) and some fresh thyme and parsley I needed to use up. I’m planning to start a batch of preserved lemons for myself this week and will be sure to post the recipe.
These chicken legs were so unbelievably easy and flavorful, and the onion cooked in with the chicken is just as tasty!
Chicken Legs Marinated in Preserved Lemons
6 whole, skin-on chicken legs
2 – 3 preserved lemons, rinsed and diced (definitely rinse the lemons since they are preserved in salt and will be way too salty if not rinsed)
1/4 c. thyme, minced
1/4 c. parsley, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Whole white onion, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
White wine (maybe 1/4 c.)
Freshly ground black pepper
Mix the chicken legs with garlic, lemons, thyme, parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper. Let sit, refrigerated, for an hour or two.
Heat a skillet (one with a lid that fits) over medium heat. Add olive oil or butter (I would more likely use butter but was out when I made this dish).
Add onion, cook for 8 minutes, until translucent and beginning to caramelize. Remove onion from pan and set aside.
Turn heat up to medium-high and let heat up for another couple of minutes. Add chicken legs and sear in skillet until both sides have a nice brown color. Add onions back to the pan, add a dash of white wine and about a 1/2” of water. Cover, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 25 – 30 minutes, or until chicken does not bleed pink when pierced. Add more water as needed during the cooking process so there is always a little in the pan.
Transfer chicken and onions to plates when done and spoon juices over all (or make a pan sauce).