In support of the axiom that simple food is the best food, this post is dedicated to our friend Bill. Over the years, Bill and his wife have come over for dinner on occasion and I have served lots of different menus depending on the season, the other guests and the celebration. But no matter what culinary creativity I might try to show off, this simple chicken recipe is his hands-down favorite. I’ve tried him out on some of my best recipes—beef bourguignon, homemade lasagna, steaks with fancy sauces –and while he’s always appreciative, his eyes only really light up for this chicken, which I served them the first time when I just didn’t have time to mess with dinner, but wanted a party. And once again I was reminded–simple nails it every time.
For ages now, I’ve been promising to post the recipe for him—and so here it is with love and just a little hesitation—because now I’ve got to come up with something else to serve him that he’ll like just as well.
Chicken Leg Quarters Roasted with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or basil or oregano)
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 chicken leg quarters
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, seasoning and garlic. Whisk thoroughly.
Sprinkle the chicken leg quarters with salt and pepper and add the pieces to the large bowl. Generously coat the chicken by turning it in the mixture and then place them skin side down in a large roasting pan or baking dish. Bake for 1 hour, and then turn the pieces skin side up. Bake for another hour, basting once or twice during the last 30 minutes of cooking until the skin is nicely browned. Serve each piece with a bit of the pan juices spooned over.
Note: I like to roast this chicken slowly, taking about 2 hours. That’s because I really don’t have to watch it when I make it this way—and the slow roasting seems to keep the chicken moist on the inside but nicely crisped on the top. In a pinch though, I have done it faster—in a 350-degree oven—and that cuts the time down to 45 minutes per side.