Chicken leg quarters are a great addition to the home cook’s weekend repertoire. They’re economical, and I often find them more flavorful than boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
I first came across this recipe in the Washington Post while reading an account of the challenges of cooking and eating in a home you’re trying to sell (nix garlic and pungent foods; bake some cookies!). Indeed, two of the best parts of this recipe: it doesn’t use a lot of dishes, and it makes the house smell divine. Leftovers make for a great lunch.
The original recipe calls for chicken drumsticks and thighs, which I would use when feeding a group or kids; when cooking for one or two people, leg quarters seem a little less fussy to me. The original also uses haricot verts, which are green beans’ skinnier, more delicate (and more expensive) cousin. Use them if you can find them, but green beans are a fine substitute.
The Post suggests serving it with crusty bread for soaking up pan juices. I also like it with potatoes or sweet potatoes, or a green salad.
Lemon Honey Roasted Chicken
Adapted from The Washington Post, April 11, 2012
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup honey, divided
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken leg quarters
Kosher or sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup cool water
12 oz. green beans (or use harictos verts, if you can find them)
Combine the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the honey, the oregano, garlic and oil in a gallon-sized resealable plastic food storage bag. Massage the bag from the outside to combine the contents. Add the chicken; season with salt and pepper to taste. Seal the bag, pressing as much air out as possible. Massage to work the marinade into the chicken. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour (refrigerate if desired).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or roasting pan at hand.
Arrange the chicken pieces skin side up in the pan, keeping as much of the marinade on them as possible. Discard the remaining marinade. Pour the water around the chicken. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey evenly over the chicken. Roast for 45 minutes, turning the dish or pan from front to back halfway through the cooking. The chicken should be cooked through and browned in spots.
Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the green beans for about 1 minute, then drain and rinse under cool water to stop any carryover cooking.
Add the haricots verts to the baking dish or pan, snuggling them into the pan juices and around the chicken in small bunches. Return to the oven and roast for 5 minutes.