Time is a luxury that many of us are often short on these days. While juggling work and competing priorities throughout the day, what to cook for dinner frequently becomes a distant afterthought. When the dinner hour rolls around, we’re left standing in the grocery store aisle starving and without a clue as to what to put on the dinner table. At least that’s a moment that I have lived countless times – peevishly hungry, yet paralyzed with indecision. Whipping up a satiating weeknight meal, however, doesn’t have to be a complicated affair.
Keeping your kitchen stocked with a few pantry essentials and a bit of forethought can go a long way in saving yourself time and effort. Because the base of many of the savory dishes that I cook is composed of salt, sugar, ground pepper, and garlic powder, I always have a homemade mix of these ingredients in a dredge shaker on the ready. It comes in handy for seasoning meats like the chicken leg quarters of this recipe. I make the seasoning salt with a 1.5 to 1 parts salt to sugar ratio and ¼ parts each of ground black pepper and garlic powder. For this recipe, I also add curry powder and turmeric to the mix. After seasoning the chicken legs with the mix, I slather them with minced lemongrass and chili peppers, which I always keep in the freezer. To save yourself even more time, you can season the meat the night before and refrigerate it until ready to cook.
When it’s time to get dinner started, all you have to do is toss the chicken legs on a rack and stick them in the oven. While the legs are roasting, start up the rice cooker and toss some greens with a vinaigrette dressing. You may even have time to hop into the shower before the chicken is done! This is the ideal weeknight meal because it requires minimal prep effort and few ingredients. Aside from the chicken, you likely already have most of these ingredients in your kitchen, so you don’t even need to make a special trip to the grocery store.
Roasted Chicken Leg w/Lemongrass & Curry
4 chicken leg quarters
3 tbsp lemongrass, finely minced
1-2 bird’s eye chili peppers, minced
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Madras curry powder
¼ tsp turmeric
Preheat oven to 200°C (~400°F)
Rinse the chicken legs clean and pat dry with paper towels.
Mix the salt, sugar, ground black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, and turmeric in a small bowl. Liberally season each side of the chicken leg quarters with the mix.
Combine the minced lemongrass and chili peppers, and distribute evenly over each side of the chicken legs. Use the back of a spoon to press the mixture in so that it sufficiently clings to the meat.
Place the chicken legs skin-side down on a flat roasting rack* over a sheet pan. Roast in the pre-heated oven and flip the chicken after 20 minutes. Continue roasting for another 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken legs reach 75°C (165°F). Allow the chicken to rest about 5-8 minutes after removing from the oven.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice and greens dressed with a vinaigrette.
*If you don’t have a roasting rack, don’t fret. You can place the chicken directly on the sheet pan lined with foil.
Bonne dégustation & thanks for reading!