Chicken,Leg,Quarters,,Baked,In,The,Oven,,Skin on,,Bone in,,Served

Perfectly portioned, deliciously versatile and excellent value for money. Let’s talk about whole chicken legs and why they’re a loved staple in households worldwide. At Chicken N Things, we’re passionate about providing high-quality meat products that inspire Kiwi home cooks and we think our NZ-produced whole chicken legs might just be an excellent addition to your meal repertoire.

Why Whole Chicken Legs?

When feeding the family, there is a lot to love about whole chicken legs. A whole chicken leg is made up of drumstick and thigh, with the joint between left intact. One chicken whole leg is generally an ideal sized portion for one person, which makes shopping easier and minimises waste.  

With bone-in and skin-on, flavours are enhanced in your chicken. As the bone heats while cooking, the bone’s marrow releases its juices, which permeate the surrounding meat, imbuing it with a richness and deep flavour. Also, the bone and skin help retain moisture during cooking, meaning the meat stays tender and juicy throughout the process. 

Whole chicken legs are also highly versatile and used in cuisines around the world. They can be roasted, grilled, fried or braised, allowing for plenty of culinary experimentation and creativity.

Whole chicken legs can be a cost-effective choice. Many shoppers go for the perceived convenience of bone-removed options. Whole legs require less processing by your butcher and result in less waste, often making it a cheaper option.

Whole chicken legs also offer nutritional benefits over bone-removed options. Nutritionists point out that bone-in cuts contain micronutrients, including essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, along with bone marrow, a nutrient-dense substance rich in vitamin A. Cooking meat with the bone-in helps release these nutrients, boosting its nutritional density. Bone-in meat can also support gut health thanks to its higher collagen, gelatin, and glycine content, which contribute to maintaining gut lining integrity and reducing inflammation. And remember, at Chicken’nThings, our quality New Zealand-produced chicken is barn-raised and hormone-free.

Preparation and Seasoning

Before popping your whole chicken legs into the oven to roast, a little prep work goes a long way in ensuring deliciousness. Start by trimming any excess fat from the legs and allow your chicken to reach room temperature for 30-45 minutes before cooking. This step not only promotes even cooking throughout the meat but also works wonders in crisping up the skin to perfection.

As your chicken gradually reaches room temperature, set it on a layer of paper towels. This kickstarts the process of moisture absorption, ensuring that your chicken is as dry as possible before seasoning or adding any fat. Remember, the drier the skin, the crispier it will become during cooking.

Now, onto seasoning. The options are endless! Keep it simple with a classic salt and pepper rub and a little olive oil or butter, or get creative with a blend of herbs and spices. Garlic, thyme, sage and rosemary all work well for an Italian vibe. Or try including Chinese five-spice and ginger for more of an Asian flavour profile.  

Roasting Techniques

Yes, there are plenty of delicious ways to dish up a whole chicken leg, but who can resist roasted chicken?

Here are some techniques to keep in mind.

High-Heat Roasting for Crispy Skin

One of the most popular techniques for achieving that coveted crispy skin is high-heat roasting. Preheat your oven to around 220°C or higher, depending on your oven’s capacity. The intense heat quickly renders the fat beneath the skin, resulting in a crunchy, golden-brown exterior. Place the chicken legs on a baking tray lined with baking paper or a wire rack to allow air circulation around the meat. Remember to pat the skin dry before seasoning for optimum crispiness.

Low-and-Slow Roasting for Tender Meat

For melt-in-the-mouth tenderness, low-and-slow roasting is the way to go. Set your oven to a lower temperature, around 150°C to 160°C, and allow the chicken legs to cook slowly over a longer period. This gentle method breaks down the connective tissues, resulting in succulent, juicy meat that falls off the bone with each bite. To prevent the skin from becoming rubbery, you can start the cooking process at a higher temperature to crisp up the skin before reducing the heat for the remainder of the cooking time.

Tips for Even Cooking and Moisture Retention

Basting: Keep your chicken legs moist by basting them with pan juices or melted butter throughout the roasting process. This also adds an extra layer of flavour.

Using a Meat Thermometer: Invest in a reliable meat thermometer to ensure your chicken legs are cooked to perfection. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding contact with the bone, and remove the legs from the oven when they reach an internal temperature of 75°C. This ensures safe consumption while also preventing overcooking and dryness.

Serving Suggestions

There are endless options for cooking with whole chicken legs, but it’s hard to go past a classic family Sunday roast. Serve up tender chicken legs nestled alongside caramelised carrots, peas, crispy Brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes for a winning combination of savoury, succulent meat with the earthy sweetness of the vegetables. As winter draws closer, consider serving your chicken legs alongside creamy mashed potatoes and rich gravy for the ultimate comfort food experience. 

In the unlikely event you find yourself with leftovers, there are plenty of wonderful ways to enjoy your whole chicken leg twice. In fact, why not cook more than you need to transform shredded chicken leg meat into mouthwatering tacos? Simply shred leftover meat and toss it with your favourite taco seasoning. Then load up soft taco shells with shredded chicken, crisp lettuce, diced tomatoes, and tangy salsa for a Southwestern-inspired fiesta. 

Or banish boring work lunches by piling chicken onto a crusty bread roll with fresh greens, ripe avocado, and a dollop of creamy mayo.

Juicy meat, crispy skin and a very budget-friendly price make whole chicken legs from Chicken’n’Things an ideal choice for family-friendly meals. With so many different ways to cook and enjoy them, grab some whole chicken legs today, and start pre-heating that oven.


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