If you’re like me and prefer dark meat, the easiest way to satisfy your roast-chicken urges without tackling a whole bird is to take advantage of one of my favorite cuts: the whole leg, with thigh and drumstick attached. It makes a hearty meal, and it takes well to the same kind of classic preparations a whole chicken does, including roasting with the magical trio of parsley, lemon, and garlic. If you don’t have a jar of Herbed Lemon Confit in the refrigerator, you can substitute store-bought preserved lemon or even just two fresh lemon slices (peel and pith included) plus an extra 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Feel free to roast more sunchokes and use the leftovers to toss into salads, mash like potatoes, or puree in soups.
Yield: Serves 1
1 whole chicken leg (thigh and drumstick attached, 8 to 10 ounces)
½ pound sunchokes, scrubbed, unpeeled, and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Sprinkle the chicken leg generously with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together the chopped garlic, parsley, and lemon confit to form the gremolata. Add oil from the jar of lemon confit if needed to form a paste. Use your finger to loosen the skin over the chicken thigh and drumstick, then pack the gremolata inside, reserving a tablespoon or so to rub on the outside of the skin.
Scatter the sunchokes and sliced garlic in a small cast-iron skillet. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to thoroughly coat with the oil. Push to the edges of the pan and put the chicken in the middle.
Roast the chicken until the skin is browned and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads at least 165°F, 20 to 30 minutes. Baste it with the oil in the pan a time or two during roasting, if desired. Remove from the oven, and let the chicken and sunchokes rest for a few minutes in the pan.
Transfer the chicken and sunchokes to the dinner plate, squeeze the lemon half over the chicken, and eat.
Nutritional information is based on using an 8 ounce chicken leg, 1/8 teaspoon of added salt, but does not include Herbed Lemon Confit. For nutritional information on Herbed Lemon Confit, please follow the link above.