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  • Writer's pictureLydia Gerratt

Bistro style roast chicken legs with potatoes, garlic and rosemary

Bistro style roast chicken legs with potatoes, garlic and rosemary

I have made this recipe a lot this year and each time I’ve put these few simple ingredients together, I’ve tweaked them to make it taste even better than the last time I assembled the chicken, potatoes, garlic and rosemary in the roasting pan.

This 2020 year of the coronavirus pandemic, on and off lockdowns and school closures for my children has meant a lot of extra cooking for me. While I love to cook, having to do it incessantly has taken some of the joy away. But this is a joyful recipe; simple, comforting and with flavours which build with each mouthful to leave you feeling properly satisfied.

I want to try and only buy organic or at the very least, free range meat as I believe that I need to be aware of animal welfare if I am going to be a meat eater. But, let’s face it, organic and free range is expensive, so I purposefully created this recipe with the cheapest (though tastiest) cut, chicken legs.

Roasting technique

This is where I made the most tweaks to achieve the bistro style full roast chicken flavour in both the chicken and potatoes. I placed the 4 chicken legs in each corner of the roasting tray as I found that the air circulation in my fan oven created the most heat in these corners and produced lovely dry, crispy skin. The potatoes in the middle of the roasting tray generated a lot of steam which helped to keep the chicken meat moist, but not soggy (I hate flabby, soft chicken skin).

The lemon juice from ½ a lemon is not to give the recipe a lemon flavour, but to add just enough acid to cut through the chicken fat. I found that if I didn’t add the lemon juice, the dish ended up tasting too fatty and rich. But the juice of ½ a lemon mixed with roasting chicken fat, makes the most more-ish chickeny flavour to coat the potatoes.

Miraculous ingredients: organic or free-range chicken legs, lemon juice

Bistro style roast chicken legs with potatoes, garlic and rosemary


4 organic or free-range whole chicken legs (drum and thigh as one big piece)

1.5kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into ⅛'s as wedges

4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves pulled of the stalk

½ lemon juice

4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt to season


Heat the oven to 180C.

Peel and slice the potatoes into fairly thin wedges, I cut a potato up into ⅛'s. The skinny end of the wedge crisps up during the roasting and the thicker end stays creamy inside.

Place the potato wedges in the biggest roasting pan you have (I use the one that came with my oven), add the peeled whole garlic cloves, the leaves from the rosemary sprigs, lots of sea salt and most of the olive oil. Mix well.

Rub the chicken legs with the remaining olive oil and sea salt and place a leg in each corner of the roasting pan. Move the potatoes into the middle of the pan so the chicken legs have a bit of room to properly roast.

Drizzle the lemon juice over the potatoes (I don’t put juice on the chicken skin as I want the skin to be dry and crispy).

Bistro style roast chicken legs with potatoes, garlic and rosemary

Roast for 1 hour.

After an hour check to see if the chicken legs are properly cooked through – the skin and meat pulls away from the drumstick and shrinks slightly when it is well cooked. Sometimes, if the chicken legs are bigger than usual, I roast for another 5-10 minutes.

Once the chicken legs are roasted, remove from the oven and leave to rest on a warm plate.

Use a metal spatula to scrap and turn the potatoes over. The lemon juice roasted with the chicken fat makes everything sticky so you’ll need a bit of effort to lift and turn the potatoes. Don’t worry if they tear and look messy as the next 10 minutes of roasting will makes these bits lovely and crunchy.

Put the potatoes back in the oven and increase the heat to 240C. Roast for 10 minutes to drive off any excess moisture to allow the potatoes to get browner and crisper.

Remove the potatoes and serve with a chicken leg, green salad and maybe some garlic sauce!

Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking 1 hour and 10 minutes, serves 4


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