Sprinkled with sea salt and bathed in olive oil, these slow-roasted whole chicken legs cook up beautifully. After 90 minutes in the oven, the skin is golden and crisp, while the chicken is tender enough to fall off the bone. This delicious recipe was created in partnership with Farmer Focus chicken.
A roasting chicken, filling the house with an irresistible savory scent, is a thing of beauty. And once it comes out of the oven, the crisp skin and juicy meat is hard to beat. But it can also be a bit of a production and cooking a whole chicken perfectly without overdoing it takes a little finesse. So although my love of the classics made me reluctant to tinker, I’m ready to admit I’ve stumbled into a simpler, exceedingly delicious, completely perfect way to capture what I love about roast chicken with a little less fuss.
The Best Chicken
This recipe begins with Farmer Focus whole chicken legs. I’m thrilled to be partnering with my friends at Farmer Focus because their chicken is some of the freshest, most tender chicken I’ve had. But the Farmer Focus brand is also important to me because, as their name implies, they really do put farmers first. Their partner farmers own their chickens and the feed, they are compensated more than traditional chicken farmers, and in partnering with Farmer Focus, they have control over their farms, as well as a commitment to quality, animal welfare, and sustainability. Farmer Focus chicken is USDA Organic, Certified Humane, and has a Step 3 Global Animal Partnership rating. Simply put, Farmer Focus chicken is the best. Find Farmer Focus chicken at a store near you here. (And note if you’re in Charlottesville, you can find Farmer Focus at Rebecca’s and Market Street Market!)
Slow-Roasted Whole Chicken Legs: Simple Perfection
Whole chicken legs have become more widely available in recent years and are an excellent cut for slow-roasting. With the thigh and drumstick attached, these whole chicken legs cook up with tons of flavor. To get the crispiest skin, pat the legs dry on both sides and then rub them with sea salt and pepper. If you have time, let the legs sit, uncovered in the fridge overnight. If you’re pressed for time, just an hour of drying in the fridge does wonders. From there, halve some potatoes, slice the bottoms off of a few heads of garlic, and slice a lemon. Tuck it all around the chicken, drizzle with olive oil (it’s kind of a lot, but don’t worry), and roast the chicken legs for about 90 minutes. Add a kale salad, and you have a perfect cold weather supper.
So far, we’ve just enjoyed these slow-roasted whole chicken legs for family meals, but it is certainly my new dinner party trick and I’m eager to have friends over so they can bear witness to the genius of this recipe. I know food media types are always throwing around superlatives, but seriously: these slow-roasted whole chicken legs are the most delicious chicken I’ve ever had.
- 4 Farmer Focus whole chicken legs (with thigh and drumstick attached)
- Sea salt
- 10 ounces small Yukon gold potatoes, halved
- 2 - 4 heads garlic, root end sliced off
- 4 - 6 dried De Arbol chilies
- 1 lemon, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 4 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
The night before or at least 30 minutes ahead of time, pat chicken legs dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with sea salt and pepper. Set in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. If prepping a night or more than 30 minutes ahead, set in the fridge. Otherwise, set chicken on the counter to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Tuck potatoes, garlic (it's ok if the heads break up; just be sure to place garlic cut side down), chilies, and lemon slices around the chicken. Slowly pour olive oil over the chicken, making sure that the chicken and potatoes are nicely coated.
Roasted chicken 80 - 90 minutes. At the 80 minute mark, check chicken – when done, the skin should be a rich golden hue and the chicken should be starting to pull off the bone.
Rest chicken 10 minutes, then serve with garlic and potatoes. Just before serving, spoon olive oil over chicken.
The olive oil used to roast the chicken can be strained and saved in the fridge.