‘Almost impossible to stuff up’

Chicken quarters with garlic and herb butter in wine. | RECIPETINEATS.COM

Chicken quarters with garlic and herb butter in wine. | RECIPETINEATS.COM

Published Mar 9, 2024


Durban — Nagi, the cook, photographer and voice behind RecipeTin Eats (www.recipetineats.com), believes anyone can make great food with everyday ingredients even if you’re short on time and cost-conscious.

She says chicken quarters are an under-utilised cut of chicken. Cheap, juicy, flavourful, hard to stuff up. It’s like roast chicken, without the mess of carving. Slather in herb and garlic butter, bake until golden, then serve with potato gratin or creamy mash with garlic sautéed green beans for the perfect meal.

It’s nearly impossible to mess up since you don’t have to worry about precise roasting time to prevent dry, bland breast. It’s juicier because it’s a larger single piece of bone-in meat. Which means less juice-escaping-crevices by meat weight.

Thyme and rosemary: Fresh herbs really deliver in the flavour department but both can be substituted with 1 1/2 tsp dried herbs (each). Chop them to release flavour.

Garlic: Fresh and only fresh; jarred stuff just doesn’t compare.

Unsalted butter: Nagi likes unsalted to control the amount of salt. However, if you only have salted it will work too, just halve the salt.

White wine: Serves a triple purpose: keeps the underside of the chicken moist as it roasts, infuses flavour into the flesh, and makes the juices in the roasting pan so tasty it’s like liquid gold. All that flavour from the herb and garlic butter mingling with the chicken juices plus the white wine ‒ sauce perfection.

Juicy chicken quarters for a cheap, quick and delicious meal. | RECIPETINEATS.COM

Juicy chicken quarters

Serves: 4

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 50 minutes

What you need:

4 pieces (about 1.5kg) chicken leg quarters

½ tsp cooking/kosher salt

80ml chardonnay or other dry white wine (substitute low-sodium chicken stock/broth)

For the herb and garlic butter:

100g/7 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

4 garlic cloves, minced using a garlic press

2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

2 tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped

¾ tsp cooking/kosher salt

¼ tsp black pepper

How to make it

Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan).

Mix herb and garlic butter ingredients until combined.

Butter the chicken: Use an upside down tablespoon to loosen the chicken skin from the flesh on the thigh and most of the leg. A spoon is ideal for this job as the shape of the spoon hugs the curves of the chicken so the spoon won’t pierce the skin. If you want to see a video of this, visit recipetineats.com

Smear 80% of the butter under the skin, just a small amount (about 5%) on the underside (flesh side) then the remainder on top of the skin. (The flesh side gets lots of flavour from the pan juices).

Put chicken in roasting pan, skin side up. Sprinkle skin with the 1/2 tsp salt. Pour wine around chicken.

Roast 50 minutes: Roast 10 minutes at 220°C to get the skin going. Then reduce the heat to 200°C (180°C fan) and roast for another 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes from the 20 minute mark onwards.

Rest and serve: Remove from oven. Rest 10 minutes then serve with the garlic-herb-butter pan juices as the sauce.

Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.

Independent on Saturday

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