This dish was an experiment of mine and I’m soo pleased with the way it turned out, I just HAD to share it! I’ve had a package of chicken legs staring at me from my fridge for a few days and I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with them. Spring is here and the house was getting warm enough in the evenings that I didn’t feel like running the oven to bake them up, but at the same time Hubby has been working until long past dinner time and wasn’t available to grill them for me. (I know I know, I”m sure I could figure out how to light the grill and cook on it, but I’m not interested and darn it, that’s HIS job!)
So what it all comes down to, is that these legs needed to be cooked and I needed to figure out a new approach since my stand-by methods weren’t available to me. The obvious solution would be to use the crock pot – but these were legs! Crock pots are good at tough cuts of meat, or maybe some chicken breasts with a gravy, but really, most chicken dishes come out a little mushy and bland, and just not all that appealing for a summery weather dish.
This is where I was wrong. These legs were not mushy. They were not bland. They were not drowned in gravy or cream soups and too heavy for a summertime meal. They were moist, packed with flavor, so tender the meat fell off the bone of a few legs, and it was SOO easy! I even tossed a few potatoes in the crock pot to cook with the chicken and those came out perfectly too….So it’s a one pot meal! Score!!!
The trick is to use a rub on the chicken, brown it in a skillet, and then build yourself some braces on the bottom of your crock to keep the juices away from your chicken while it’s cooking! Easy, easy, easy! I’ll break it all down for you. First the ingredients…
1 package Chicken Legs
2 Russet Potatoes, washed and halved
1 Onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves Garlic, smashed
2-3 stalks Celery
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
First of, you need to mix all of your herbs/seasonings together in a bowl to make your rub. Once combined, proceed to rub it all over your chicken legs, both on the skin and directly onto any of the meat that is showing as well. Get a skillet on the stove top nice and hot and then place your rubbed legs in to brown them, making sure to turn them occasionally so they get a nice browning on all sides.
While your legs are in the skillet, you can begin to prepare your crock pot. You need to work in layers so the chicken meat isn’t soaking in it’s own juices and turn all mushy on you. On the very bottom of your skillet, spread out your thinly sliced onion and smashed garlic cloves. Next up is the celery and carrots. Cut your stalks into lengths that fit nicely in the bottom of your crock, both lengthwise and crosswise. You want to put a layer or two of these ‘crossbeams’ in to allow the juice to sink, but the chicken to remain supported above it all. Next up is the potatoes. I sliced two potatoes in half lengthwise and wrapped the halves up tightly in aluminum foil. They will steam themselves nicely and will be done and ready to eat when the chicken is done!
When your chicken has been browned, you can place it directly tin to your prepared and layered crock pot. Turn the crock on low for 6 hours and walk away!! Your dinner is cooking itself for you! I turned my crock on high for the last 45 minutes to try and crisp up the skins a little, but they were still a little too soft for my liking. You could place them under a broiler for a few minutes if you want to firm them up some.
The chicken and potatoes should be cooked perfectly, the carrots and celery were really used for structural support, but if you are so inclined you could always save them aside to make them into a stock with the juices in the bottom of the pot. Just cook it down a little more. I wouldn’t recommend serving them as a veggie side with your chicken dish though. 🙂
Enjoy! I really hope you like it! This is going to become a regular around our house for sure!