Tuesday, January 3, 2006

The Underrated Chicken Leg

I changed my mind three times today before I decided to go ahead and make this chicken. I went back and forth as to whether or not it would be well received by my family. But Braised Chicken Legs In Mustard Sauce was fantastic. I pulled this recipe out of a yet-unused cookbook in my collection. I've had this book for about 4 months now, and have flipped through it twice. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to utilize my cookbooks more. This particular cookbook is The New York Times Chicken Cookbook. I will most certainly be making another visit to this cookbook, and will definitely repeat this recipe.

What struck me first about this particular recipe is that it features chicken legs. You rarely see a recipe that features just the leg. I read it through, and most of the ingredients are things I have on hand anyways. I wasn't disappointed. My big change to the recipe was to swap out the beer for additional chicken stock and a few dashes of worchestishire sauce. Andy's beer supply is running a little low, and I wasn't sure exactly what he would get angry about me using for dinner. So I left it out. If we missed it, I certainly can't tell because the kids loved it, Andy loved it, and I loved it. The sauce was fantastic and was great dribbled over rice. It would be equally good dribbled over potatoes, or sopped up with bread. I used half the chicken called for, but made a full recipe of sauce. The next time I make it, Andy would like me to try using other chicken parts, and I also want to double the sauce if I can without wrecking the integrity of the dish.

Anyway, here is the recipe. The mustard is not as noticable as I was expecting, so give it a try. Easy weeknight fare for me.

Braised Chicken Legs in Mustard Sauce

3 Tbs. Olive Oil
12 chicken legs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 tsp rosemary, fresh or dried (I used fresh)
1/4 cup dark beer (I omitted)
1/2 cup chicken stock or brown stock
1/4 cup wholegrain prepared mustard (I used Luzianne Creole Mustard- our fave)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs chopped fresh Italian parsley

1. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole large enough to hold the chicken tightly in a single layer. Add half the chicken legs, brown over high heat, remove from the pan and repeat with remaining chicken. Lower heat, add the onions and celery. Saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir int he rosemary, beer, and stock.
2. Return the browned chicken to the pot, cover and cook over low heat until it is cooked through, about 45 minutes, turning once during cooking.
3. Remove the chicken from the pot and increase the heat to high. Stir in the mustard, season to taste with salt and pepper and return the chicken to the pan, basting it with the mustard sauce. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and spoon the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 servings
Author: Florence Fabricant

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