Eat for Eight Bucks: Mustardy Chicken Legs

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Shopping List

2 whole chicken legs: $4.00
1 bunch beets: $2.00
1 small spring onion: $0.25
Small loaf bread: $1.50

Pantry items: Salt, pepper, dried thyme, Dijon mustard, panko, butter.

Total cost (for 2 portions): $7.75

Even at full price at my fancy little local grocery store, whole chicken legs are always affordable, and a single one usually provides a satisfying amount of meat for one person. Now that I've caught on to their merits, I'm always on the lookout for new ways to prepare whole legs, and so was excited last month when the Wednesday Chef presented a version with mustard and breadcrumbs. It's like a faster, cheaper take on one of my favorite Suzanne Goin recipes.

Luisa says you should really use panko instead of regular breadcrumbs, and I can attest to the crisp and scrumptious results afforded by the former. If your pantry is devoid of panko, a bag will set you back $4.29, but you'll be able to stash most of it in the freezer for future use. (You also might be able to buy the small amount you need for this recipe for pennies in the bulk section at a natural grocery.)

Beet stems sautéed in olive oil with a slivered spring onion and finished with a few drops of vinegar mellowed out next to the pungent, unctuous chicken. I had already used the greens and had not yet cooked the roots, but if you start with an entire bunch of beets, this plate would also welcome the greens (sautéed) and the roots (shredded into a raw salad, or perhaps roasted, cubed, and tossed with vinaigrette).

Bread rounds out the meal—not because you need more bulk or carbs but because swiping a slice through the fat and juices in the roasting pan is a heavenly treat.

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Eat for Eight Bucks: Mustardy Chicken Legs

About This Recipe

Yield:2

Ingredients

  • 2 whole chicken legs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons panko
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 325°F.

  2. 2

    Rinse the chicken legs, pat dry, and lay skin-side-up in a baking dish that holds them reasonably snugly. Season with salt and pepper, and then sprinkle a tiny pinch of dried thyme over each leg. Brush the skin side of each leg with a tablespoon of mustard. Scatter the panko evenly over the legs, drizzle with butter, and bake for about an hour.

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