It wasn't until last year that I really discovered chicken legs. There's been so much focus on the breast the last decade. Chicken breasts, of course! I guess our cultural fascination extends to more than one species. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are wonderful. (I know all you Food Inc. fans are shuddering right now.) They're easy, quick, endlessly adaptable. But the missing bone and white meat means less juice, less carnivorous pleasure. Wyatt digs into chicken legs with a vengeance. It's what every mother loves to see. So they've become part of our rotation and I'm letting you in on the secret.
I remember one night last summer when I'd been watching five kids all day. For some reason, they all stayed for dinner and Yancey was gone. I made roasted chicken legs with herbs and olive oil, and there was an absolute maelstrom in this little kitchen--chicken bones piling up, little hands grabbing at the platter, a plethora of greasy chins, and one popular mother. You, too, can have this coveted experience.
This recipe combines about 20 other recipes I've come across lately. I've lost the paper trail by now. But all you need to know is that you can come home from work, mutter about all the toys on the floor, check your flooded inbox, supervise homework, AND have this kid-pleasing dinner on the table in 45 minutes. We ate ours with smashed red potatoes and sauteed asparagus. My advice: take a break from the breast. Way overrated.
Parmesan Panko Chicken
Panko is Japanese breadcrumbs, available everywhere in my neighborhood, but they might even have them at Safeway. Light, very slightly sweet, and will keep in your pantry forever. And I always have a green can of parmesan around for things like this, roasted potatoes, or to top pizza.
12 chicken drumsticks, rinsed and dried
1 garlic clove, smashed
handful fresh herbs ,coarsely chopped (chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano)
1 tsp. dijon mustard
3 Tb. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1 1/2 c. panko
1/4 c. dried parmesan
freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450.
In a small bowl, mix the garlic, 1/2 the herbs, dijon, and vinegar. Add oil oil in a stream. Pour over the drumsticks and let them sit while you prepare the crumb coating.
In a medium bowl, mix the panko, parmesan, the other half of the herbs, salt, and pepper. Roll each drumstick in the crumb mixture, pressing to coat evenly. Place drumsticks on a large baking sheet and put into preheated oven. Cook for about 35 minutes, until a thermometer reads 170 and chicken is golden. You can drizzle a bit more olive oil while baking if they're not getting brown enough.