When I was a kid, every once in a while we’d pick up a bucket of chicken for dinner. This was a real treat. I liked the chicken and LOVED the mashed potatoes that always accompanied it. I’m not such a fan anymore. It’s been this way for a number of years, ever since that fateful day as a teen when I dived into the bucket for my favorite piece – the drumstick – and came away with a drumstick…and a gnarly, extra crispy chicken foot still attached. Yikes.
These days, I would probably be less squeamish about the foot, but more so about the quality of the food and the unhealthy way it’s cooked at most fast food places. Besides, I always felt shorted on the drumstick front. A whole bucket of chicken and most of it not what I wanted. It makes so much more sense to cook it myself. I like to buy the “family pack” of chicken legs and cook that whole sucker up all at once. It usually makes enough for 2-3 meals for my little family, or it’s great if you’re feeding a crowd.
This is an easy recipe and it turned out so pretty! I recommend marinating the chicken for a few hours (or all day) but you don’t have to if you don’t have time. I wanted the texture to be similar to a roasted chicken so I packed them all together in a roasting dish. For quicker cook times and more crispy chicken, you can lay them out on a baking sheet instead. But this made for a pretty presentation and the chicken was melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken
(slightly adapted from thecomfortofcooking.com)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 whole lemons, one juiced and zested, and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and zested, and one sliced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
12-20 pieces chicken drumsticks (and/or thighs)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
1 tablespoon dried or fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, Italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add marinade to a large plastic bag or baking dish (I prefer to use a plastic bag for marinated since it’s easy to rotate and get the marinade on all the parts equally. I set the bag inside a baking dish just in case it leaks).
Place chicken in a large casserole dish. Since my pan was the deeper sort, I placed my chicken so the small ends were down in the bottom and the larger ends poked up (think chicken leg bouquet). Place parts skin side up and spread them out evenly in the pan. Pour marinade all over chicken, turning pieces to coat all sides. Arrange slices of lemon, orange and onion around and under the chicken. Sprinkle all over generously with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Bake uncovered for about 1 hour – hour & 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear. (If you use breasts for this recipe, the cooking time should only be around 40 minutes). Remove to a serving platter and garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs, if desired.