Some people say I am a miser, others say I am a tightwad. I prefer to think of myself as frugal. I am always on the look out for good and tasty ways to prepare cheap cuts of meat. Where I come from, chicken legs are just about the cheapest, coming in at around $.89/lb. But I have never been satisfied with fried chicken (too hard and time consuming to make myself), or with baked chicken (flavor does not penetrate the meat). I have been very satisfied with the results of this recipe, the chicken legs come out fork tender, very moist and flavorful, and the cooking liquid reduces to a very nice sauce. All in all this recipe provides me with a relatively easy and tasty method of preparing very cheap chicken legs.



Once the basics of braising are learned, this recipe can be adapted to any cheap cut of meat, experiment as you see fit, try tomatoes with beef short ribs or lamb shanks. The basic principle of braising is as follows: brown the meat, brown or sweat the vegetables,bloom the spices, put it all into a dutch oven with just enough liquid to cover 3/4 of the meat, and cook in the oven at 350 F until tender. Chicken takes about 2 hours, other cuts of meat will take 3 but never more than 3 1/2 hours.Braise a sirloin steak and you ruin it, braise a pack of short ribs and you create something sublime.

  1. Slowly heat the garlic in a small pan with the remainder of the olive oil, let it brown just a bit, then kill the heat and let it sit for as long as you want, the longer the better. This step is extraneous, I include it because I think it makes a small difference and its fun, but the dish will be good if you just cook the garlic when you bloom the spices, and add the olive oil to the pot before it is put in the oven.
  2. In a frying pan, brown the chicken legs on all sides using about 2 tbsp. of the olive oil. Set them aside.
  3. Over high heat, sweat the vegetables in the frying pan, until they begin to soften.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and add the spices, cooking for about a minute to allow the flavor of the spices to bloom.
  5. Put the chicken, the vegetables and the garlic with oil in a dutch oven or hardy cast iron frying pan. Pour in just enough stock to not quite cover the chicken legs. You do not want to completely cover the meat.
  6. Put the pot in the oven, some people would tell you to put a lid on the pot, I do not. A lidded pot will generate too much steam. Cook for 2 hours at 350 F.
  7. Plate the chicken, and reserve the stock in the pan. At this point you can thicken the sauce by bringing it to a rolling boil and adding a corn starch mixture of 4 tsp corn starch with 4 tbsp. water (be sure to mix this seperately and add it to the stock when it is boiling very hard). Then dress the chicken with some of the sauce and the vegetables. This will give it a rustic look or if you are fancy you can strain the sauce before it is thickened.
  8. Garnish the chicken with the sauce, the olives and capers.