Best-ever Roast Chicken Legs
This is hands-down, the best chicken recipe in my arsenal. It uses a technique made famous by Thomas Keller: cooking the chicken at a very high heat. It requires zero skill and very little prep time.
- •Start with two skin-on, bone in whole chicken legs.This super-inexpensive cut of chicken is the thigh and the drumstick, left intact. It's my go-to meat purchase. Not only is it cheap (usually $2-ish per pound), it's the juiciest, most flavorful part of the bird. One whole leg is usually more than enough for one person.
- •Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.I know this seems high. Trust.
- •Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.This will make clean-up significantly easier.
- •Use paper towels to carefully dry all sides of the chicken.This is an important step. It helps the chicken skin get as crispy as possible.
- •Place 2-3 peeled garlic cloves under the skin of each chicken leg.They're going to caramelize during cooking. You're going to freak out about how good they taste.
- •If desired, also place a pat of butter, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and/or fresh chopped herbs (I like parsley or rosemary) under the skin as well.Keller says these things aren't necessary and, while he's right, I've made the chicken without them, and I think they add a lot of good flavor, so I always include them.
- •Place the chicken legs in the prepared pan and sprinkle salt all over the skin, adding a bit of pepper as well, to taste.Use kosher or coarse sea salt, and sprinkle from at least 8 inches above the meat, moving your hand back-and-forth until the salt is evenly distributed. For the pepper, you can just grind it right over the chicken.
- •Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes, until the skin becomes very crisp.It may look a little dry when you take it out of the oven, but don't worry--underneath the insanely crisp skin is mouthwateringly juicy, flavorful meat.
- •Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot.Resting encourages the juices to distribute evenly, yielding juicier chicken. Serve it with a little bit of lemon if you have one around. The chicken is best served hot out of the oven, maybe with a roasted vegetable or salad alongside. It's also great served cold the next day, though the crispy skin won't really carry over. The juicy, amazingly flavorful meat, however, will.