roasted chicken quarters – easy and comforting for fall

roasted chicken parts with pears, onions and shallots

It’s time again for the slow cooked and the comforting, for the warm and satisfying. In my industry, the last few months of the year are also the most trying ? you work overtime to finish up all the projects and “justify your existence” to the management. This leaves little time and energy for cooking dishes that are very time-consuming prep-wise, you want to be able to just assemble your dish and let it cook, while you do other stuff, like work from home for example.

I’ve written up about my favorite way to prepare chicken on my blog, the Sassy Radish, and I’d like to share it with you here, but with a few changes. Here, I’ve added shallots and pears. In the old recipe I omit shallots and use apples instead. Why did I make the switch? Well, pears and shallots cook down to a paste and practically dissolve in what they’re cooking whereas apples maintain their shape for a long time. What you wind up with ? is delicious puree or thick sauce, that you can later serve on the side. It goes great with the chicken itself, or mixed into a starch or your choice. We ate this dish with couscous, but in the past, fingerling potatoes have been my favorites.

This is an uncomplicated dish, but a very delicious one. The juice added to the roasting pan prevents the drying out.

Ingredients:
6 chicken drumsticks
2 large onions thinly sliced
2-3 shallots, finely minced
2 very ripe pears thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 lemon with juice squeezed and lemon cut into quarters
2/3 cup orange juice, apple cider or chicken broth
2-3 tbs salt
1 tsp pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash the chicken quarters, rub them with garlic and place in a glass baking dish. You may need 2 baking dishes as chicken quarters tend to be large and take up a lot of space.

Add to the dish sliced onions, shallots and pears. The reason you want them sliced thinly is that this means they cook down faster and caramelize, which is especially tasty if you then mix that cooked down “puree” with roasted fingerling potatoes or into couscous or rice. The shallots and pears will cook down to a paste, delicious when eaten with a piece of chicken.

Add the lemon juice and lemon quarters and pour the orange juice onto the bottom.
Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken at 400 degrees for about an hour. To test if the chicken is done, cut into the part where the thigh meets the drumstick and if you see no pink it’s a pretty good indicator that the chicken is thoroughly cooked. I prefer to cook it slowly at 325 degrees for another 30 minutes because the flavors deepen. Also, dark meat is harder to dry out than the white meat, and the orange juice, or the liquid of your choice keeps the chicken moist and flavors the meat with a hint of sweetness. Perhaps because it sits in this fruity bath, that it tastes braised to me. If you choose to roast this for a longer period of time, set the temperature to 325 and leave the chicken in there for at least two hours and then test to make sure that the meat isn’t just not pink anymore, it’s practically falling off the bone. As with many slow cooked dishes, this one also tastes better the next day. One note: you might want to turn your chicken a few times while it’s cooking so it’s evenly browned.

I like to serve this chicken with some fingerling potatoes roasted in olive oil and sea salt. I’ve tried adding herbs and garlic to it, but somehow the simple sweetness of fingerlings just stands better on its own, so I’ve been making it so for a while.

Serves 6.

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