Saturday, September 29, 2012

Herb Roasted Chicken Legs with Butternut Squash Rissotto

The key to cooking dark meat in the oven is the right amount of heat and cooking time.  For my oven, I typically cook leg/ thigh portions at 425 degrees for about 35-45 minutes, turning once to caramelize both sides nicely.  Before cooking, the meat should be as dried as well as possible and then given a light coat of vegetable or olive oil before seasoning.  For chicken, I roast on a heavy sheet pan lined with parchment paper, which prevents sticking and allows the caramelization to stick to the meat instead of the pan (as aluminum foil often has the tendency to do).  Anyhow, the meat comes out perfectly crusted and amazingly juicy inside.

I served this dish with a delicious butternut squash risotto.  I used some flavors to complement the fall weather:  ginger, cinnamon, and a little fresh ground nutmeg.  It is important to use these seasonings sparingly as they could be easily overdone.  Always go easy and taste!  I also vary the textures in the risotto by adding a roasted butternut squash puree as well as cubed portions of raw butternut squash as the same time as I add the rice (which comes after you have properly prepared the aromatics -- in this case onion and garlic).  This dish goes nicely with the same Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc used when making the risotto. 

Mmm, mmm.  Ready for dinner?

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