So to speak.
Well, it turned out not to be chicken legs - as our butcher completely ran out of chicken legs prior to our arrival. (Where did they all go? Who buys thousands of chicken legs, or are chickens being bred without legs these days? Nothing would surprise me).
As a result, I was compelled to use chicken breast throughout - which wasn't my original intention at all. I was looking forward to a nice chicken leg!
I was also looking forward to tackling a Galton Blackiston recipe. Now, I hasten to qualify what I'm about to say by admitting that i've never met the guy and have no idea what he's really like, but he strikes me as being a thoroughly nice chap. You know how some successful chefs can be a bit "up themselves" (if you'll excuse the expression), well in comparison, Galton seems to be thoroughly grounded.
Anyway (brief moment of hero worship over), I'd found his recipe for Spiced Chicken Legs on the goodfoodchannel.co.uk website.
Billed as "value-for-money marinade is made up of plenty of store-cupboard ingredients, including apple juice to keep the meat moist", it sounded right up my street.
Having had a look at the recipe, it really was simplicity itself - and you know how I like those sorts of recipes! The ingredients also hinted at the promise of some really quite frisky spicing in the marinade, which was also attractive and would go down well with all the family.
The recipe involves marinading the meat in the "sauce" you're going to be cooking it in and I opted to marinade it for longer than the given hour. I figure if you're going to be introducing flavour, then you might as well give it a good chance of getting in to where it's supposed to be - and I had the time available.
Instead of roasting for the specified 40 minutes (for chicken legs), because I was using breast meat which I'd cut into three pieces, I roasted it for just 25 minutes - had a look at it and opted to continue again for another 5 minutes in a hotter oven, just to get some caramelisation on it - which worked beautifully.
Incidentally, this would be a gorgeous marinade for chicken that's going to be barbecued. I'll have to try and remember it, come the summer!
I served the chicken with what was supposed to be an oven baked jacket sweet potato, but which turned out to be so enormous that we had half each, and some salad (including those beautiful marinated beetroots - this time, in honey & ginger).
Everyone, without any exception or desire for alterations, enjoyed the meal. The chicken was friskily spicy, sweet, sour and delicious. The sweet potato was there for when the chilli effects got too much - and the salad for juiciness.
Couldn't ask for better!
I've included Galton's recipe as stated, below. However, if you're using chicken breast, I recommend you follow the adjustments to cooking time as given above.
SPICED CHICKEN LEGS (serves 3)
For the marinade :
6 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 cloves garlic, grated or crushed to a paste
2 large red chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp (or more, to taste) Worcestershire Sauce
140ml apple juice
handful of chopped coriander
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.
For the chicken :
3 chicken legs (or breasts)
1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, in a non-reactive dish.
2. Add the chicken to the dish, toss in the marinade, cover and leave for at least an hour. If leaving it for longer, replace in the fridge and take out a half hour before you're likely to cook, to enable it to come back to room temperature.
3. Pre-heat your oven to 190deg C/375deg F/Gas 5.
4. Transfer the chicken to a roasting tray and cover with the marinade. Roast for around 40 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden brown.
5. Check the meat is done, by inserting a skewer into the thickest part. If the juices run clear, then the meat is cooked through - if there is any trace of pinkness, then you need to give it a little longer.