Chicken has an important role on the Mediterranean table, it was a more accessible meat and traditionally consumed once a week. And while some people consider chicken a bit boring, in the Greek kitchen it is transformed. Cooked with herbs or in sauces it is a family favorite. Usually we will make it the classic way: roasted with lemon and oregano with potatoes or my favorite: kotopoulo kokkinisto, which is chicken stewed in a pot with tomato and herbs and served with pasta or rice. But some days, especially weekdays, time is limited and I need to make something that takes little time to prepare and easy to take with you for lunch the next day and this recipe is perfect for that. These baked honey lemon chicken legs only takes a few minutes to prepare and then they go straight to the oven. I generally prefer chicken legs because they are easier to handle, kids love them and they combine both white and brown meat, plus they are cheaper than the popular skinless boneless chicken breasts. However, I have also made this recipe using the breasts and it results in a moist, flavorful meal as well. The ingredients are simple, found in any Mediterranean kitchen, or really any kitchen. The result is juicy meat with a crispy skin. You can combine this with a salad or any vegetable you have on hand. I add a bit of garlic, by tucking a small piece under each leg. You can remove the skin if you want to save some calories and fat.
A few tips: Place the chicken in a pan that fits the chicken snuggly so that the sauce raises high around the chicken rather than spread out. Make sure you check the chicken while it is baking and brush the surface a couple of times so the chicken does not dry out, and do not over bake, otherwise you will have dry, tough chicken. So start taking the temperature of the meat with a thermometer at around 20 minutes and remove from the oven when the temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 Celsius). If they have not browned on top, you can pass them under the broiler to get the crispy skin.
Photo by Elena Paravantes