Category: chicken (Page 2 of 2)

Brined & Roasted Chicken Legs for Two (Adapted from The Pioneer Woman) + Curry Mayo

I was a hesitant Pioneer Woman fan.

When her cooking show first aired, I wasn’t sure I liked her. Soon, I found myself watching her show with surprising regularity and setting my DVR to record it. And when she made those darn hand cookies, well, I just found myself wishing I could make hand cookies with her, too.

I recently watched an episode where Ree prepared Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs and decided to give them a try even though Jake’s not crazy about chicken pieces with bones. He prefers boneless-skinless chicken breast, which I hate. Slowly but surely, I’m trying to change his perspective by feeding him as delicious chicken thighs as I can prepare. He may still prefer white meat, but at least he doesn’t hate those thighs anymore.

I needed to thaw my chicken legs and remembered how Danelle, of My Total Perspective Vortex suggested defrosting meat in brine. I based my brine on Michael Ruhlman’s Quick Brine Recipe and let the chicken soak for two hours. This was enough time to ensure the meat was juicy and flavorful from the inside-out.

A Cook’s Notes
The excess butter may drip onto the pan and smoke. I transferred the chicken legs onto a clean pan and reduced the heat to 375℉ to avoid setting off my smoke alarms. After they cooked for 1/2 hour, I broiled them until the skin was crispy.

I served the chicken with basmati rice cooked in chicken stock with sautéed onions + sliced brussel sprouts sautéed and then steamed until tender with Asian flavors like ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and a little sugar. I also whipped up a quick curry mayo for dipping. 

Pioneer Woman Chicken Legs

Here’s my take:

6 chicken drumsticks (1 pack)

Chicken Brine:
5 cups water
2.5 Tablespoons of salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
Tablespoon dried sage

Chicken Butter:
1/2 stick butter
1/3 teaspoon seasoned salt
Cayenne pepper, a good dash
1 teaspoon hot madras curry powder
Lemon juice, about two tablespoons

Our Favorite Curry Mayo for Dipping
Mix together mayonnaise (could substitute greek yogurt, sour cream, or a combination), hot madras curry powder, cayenne, garlic or garlic powder, a spritz of lemon juice, and a little dash of sugar. We like it spicy so I use a lot of curry and cayenne.


  1. Prepare the brine for the chicken by mixing the water, salt, sugar, bay leaf and safe until combined. Mine doesn’t follow Ruhman’s Quick Chicken Brine in exact proportions because I can’t do math, but it’s close enough. Allow the chicken to soak in the brine for a couple of hours. Remove the chicken and pat dry.
  2. Prepare the chicken butter by melting the butter, salt, cayenne, curry and lemon juice in a small saucepan. I love hot Madras curry and add it to everything, but you can use whatever seasonings you like.
  3. Swish the chicken legs around in the butter and place them on a baking rack set on a baking sheet. Baste with butter, again.
  4. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. You might need to replace the pan underneath and reduce heat to 375 if the butter and juices smoke too much.
  5. If the chicken isn’t browned enough after cooking, broil until the skin is crispy and golden brown.

Not Chicken Teriyaki Boy’s Glazed Beef Patties and Chicken Thighs

When I hear the word “teriyaki,” I think of Larry David’s Chicken Teriyaki Boy or that goopy, cloyingly sweet sauce also known as teriyaki.

My experiences with teriyaki sauces have been limited to that awful stuff that often slimes airplane chicken meals or sad stir fries.

However, my view of teriyaki changed as I flipped through Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking and Harumi’s Japanese Cooking, written by Harumi Kurihara.  Although I borrowed these books from the library months ago, they inspired me by making Japanese cooking approachable and accessible.  I drooled over Harumi’s recipe for petite beef patties that glistened with a simple teriyaki sauce made from mostly soy sauce and mirin.

Instead of incorporating bread crumbs into my ground beef, I used ground, instant oats.  This resulted in meat patties that reminded me of baked, Lebanese kibbe.

I have glazed turkey burgers with reduced soy and mirin with delicious results.  This was no exception. I created this recipe as I cooked so my best advice is to taste as you go, following the recipe as basic guidelines.  Since I cooked with small quantities of meat, double the recipes as needed.

2 chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat (I used bone-in, but boneless would be fine)
1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 pound ground beef (or turkey)
Oil or butter
1/2 onion, minced
3 button mushrooms, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
1 small garlic clove, grated
1 egg
Wocestershire sauce, 2 dashes
1 small squirt of ketchup
1/2-3/4 cup instant oats, pulverized in a blender of food processor

Teriyaki Glaze
Soy sauce
Grated ginger
Spritz of fresh lemon juice
Optional: Cayenne or other hot peppper

To prepare the teriyaki sauce
In a small saucepan, reduce equal parts of soy sauce and mirin.  Add a little grated ginger.  Gradually add more sugar until the sauce is not too salty.  Gently reduce until the sauce is glossy and coats the back of a spoon.

If the sauce seems to salty, add more mirin, sugar, or water.  If it seems to sweet, add more soy sauce.  Spritz in some fresh lemon juice for brightness.

To prepare the chicken
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Preheat a skillet with oil to medium-high.

Rinse the chicken thighs and pat dry.  Trim off the extra skin.

Season the skin-side of the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the preheated pan, skin-side down.  Let the chicken cook until the skin renders to golden brown.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a lightly oiled baking dish, on top of the sliced onions, skin-side up.

Bake for about an hour or until the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink.  As the chicken cooks, baste with the teriyaki sauce and pan juices.

To prepare the beef patties
In a pan over medium heat, saute the minced onion and mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper.  As the vegetables cook, grate in ginger and stir.  When the vegetables are translucent and the ginger is fragrant, remove from heat.  Grate in the garlic, stir, and allow to lightly cook.

Roughly pulverize the oats in a blender or food processor.

In a bowl, incorporate the ground meat, sauteed vegetables/ginger/garlic, egg, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt, and pepper.  Add the ground oats until the patties hold together.  Test the seasoning by sauteing a small amount of the meat.

Form the mixture into patties and sear over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat and baste with the teriyaki sauce as the patties cook through.  Add a little water to the bottom of the pan, as needed so the teriyaki sauce does not scorch.  Cover the patties with a lid for faster cooking.

I served my glazed meats alongside Thai sticky rice, sauteed mushrooms, and green peas.

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