Chicken legs; roast, stew or fry them - they’ll always be succulent

Most of us never purchase the legs of the chicken. Have you realised how much cheaper they are?

Glazed Chicken Drumsticks with a Sweet and Sour Sauce, Bread and Salad. Photograph: iStock

Glazed Chicken Drumsticks with a Sweet and Sour Sauce, Bread and Salad. Photograph: iStock

 

Why is it that when most of us think of chicken, we think only of the breast meat and not those juicy legs and thighs that so often get left behind? Indeed, most of us never purchase the legs of the chicken. Have you realised how much cheaper they are? Most of us just don’t want them. We’re fixated on that lean breast meat that packs a good protein punch. I once met a man in the gym who told me he ate seven chicken breasts a day. He thought it was healthy.

I love chicken legs. Roasted, confited, stewed, fried: I don’t care how you serve them as long as they’re succulent. Have you ever marinaded them in yoghurt overnight with some salt, pepper and some spices, such as cumin or coriander? Grill them the next day for an amazing fresh flavour and serve with lots of cucumber, pickled perhaps, which is in season now. 

Boning chicken legs is easy and great for barbecuing. I love to macerate mine in a little saffron, olive oil and smoked paprika (overnight again) and then pop them in the oven or barbecue. When a leg is boned it will cook a lot quicker, so keep an eye on them. As always, a temperature probe is a good thing to have to hand. Once your chicken comes to 72 degrees, take it off and let it rest for about five minutes before eating. 

Grilled chicken needs something to cut through it. Baby Gem lettuce is great this time of year, grilled or pan fried. Just half it, brush it with oil and then place under a hot grill until it begins to blacken. Finish with some additional oil and some acidity, such as vinegar or lemon juice, to bring it all together.

There are 19 billion chickens in the world, one billion of which go to KFC. Most of us rarely consider where our chicken comes from. Sourcing good local chicken has never been more important. Reach out and find your nearest chicken farmer and enjoy the succulent taste of this beautiful white meat.

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