Sprinkled with cardamom, roasted until crisp, and topped with an apple-flavored sauce, chicken legs become extraordinary. The chicken is perfectly matched by the raisin-studded rice pilaf thats also flavored with cardamom.
4 chicken legs (about 3 pounds)
2 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 cups basmati or other long-grain rice
1/4 cup raisins
2 1/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1/4 cup apple juice
How to Make It
Heat the oven to 450°. Coat the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Put the chicken in a roasting pan and top each leg with a piece of the butter. Roast the chicken until just done, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and 1 teaspoon cardamom and stir to coat the rice with the oil. Add the raisins, broth, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, without removing the lid, for 5 minutes. Stir with a fork.
Remove the chicken from the pan. Pour off all the fat from the pan. Set the pan over the heat; add the apple juice and 18 teaspoon each cardamom and salt. Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits, until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Serve the chicken topped with a drizzle of the sauce and with the rice pilaf alongside.
Wine Recommendation: Raisins and apple juice contribute a slightly sweet fruitiness to this dish, contrasting with the cardamom. A California chardonnay thats oak aged as most of them are will provide a similar juxtaposition of sweet fruitiness and spice.