Weekends are busy, but it is often possible to indulge in preparing meals that demand a little extra time, especially if it means hands-off cooking. This recipe by Jamie Oliver is perfect for Summer evenings, when there is absolutely no shortage of wonderful grape tomatoes and basil. He suggests variations such as adding cannellini beans or potatoes to turn it into a one-dish meal. I haven’t tried those yet, but this basic recipe already showed up at our table a few times, served over pasta on the first day, and incorporated in sandwiches, quesadillas or salads later.
I’ve tried many methods to roast chicken parts, but in my experience, nothing beats a low oven, eventually running the dish under the broiler to crisp up the skin before serving. The meat gets tender and juicy, the herbs and spices come through nicely, as they have more time to infuse the dish with their flavors.
(receita em portugues na pagina seguinte)
CHICKEN LEGS WITH CHERRY TOMATOES AND BASIL
(adapted from Jamie Oliver)
4 chicken legs, preferably organic, free-range
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large bunch basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes (yellow, red) or plum tomatoes quartered
a few cloves of garlic, no need to peel
drizzle of lemon juice
Heat the oven to 350F.
Season your chicken pieces all over and put them into a snug-fitting pan in one layer (see my photo after the jump). Scatter the basil leaves and stalks all over, then add the tomatoes and the garlic cloves. Drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice. Push some of the tomatoes in, allowing them to go under the chicken.
Place in the oven for one and a half hours (uncovered), moving the tomatoes around halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone. If the skin is not as crisp as you like, run the dish under the broiler for a couple of minutes, watching it carefully. Guests can squeeze the garlic out of their skins, or you can do it before serving.
Here is the dish ready to go into the 350F oven, and served over farfalle pasta. Some of my cherry tomatoes were quite large, so I cut them in half, however it is not necessary, as they will melt away during cooking whether you cut them or not. As the chicken roasts, a lot of juices accumulate in the baking dish, forming a perfectly natural sauce for pasta (feel free to degrease it slightly). It goes equally well over polenta or mashed potatoes, but those will have to wait for cooler months for sure!
Other fresh herbs (oregano, mint, thyme, Italian parsley), capers, white wine, might be excellent variations for this recipe too. Make sure to have a very nice loaf of bread to soak up the sauce… ;-)
FRANGO ASSADO COM TOMATES-CEREJA E MANJERICAO
4 coxas / sobrecoxas de frango, com osso
sal e pimenta do reino a gosto
1.5 xicaras de tomate-cereja
manjericao fresco, folhas inteiras, talos picadinhos
4 dentes de alho, com casca
suco de limao amarelo
Aqueca o forno a 175 C. Tempere os pedacos de frango com sal e pimenta, e coloque em uma forma refrataria de forma a que fiquem bem juntinhos. Espalhe as folhas de manjericao e os talos por cima, adicione os tomates-cereja e os dentes de alho. Regue com azeite e suco de limao. Empurre alguns dos tomates para baixo dos pedacos de frango.
Coloque no forno por uma hora e meia, ate’ que a pele do frango fique bem douradinha e a carne macia. Se a pele nao estiver do jeito que voce gosta, aumente a temperatura do forno nos minutos finais. Antes de servir, esprema o alho para fora da casca, ou deixe que seus convidados o facam no proprio prato.