These marinated chicken legs come out beautifully glazed and juicy, and look like a lot more work than they really are! I marinated mine for only one hour and they still turned out nicely. Also, you can add sliced and scored potatoes to the baking pan if desired, to soak up some of the juices. Note: I originally tried this recipe for one serving, so had to estimate the measurements of the marinade and stuffing. The proportions are correct, but the amounts may need adjusting for your personal taste. I also only had dried herbs on hand, but fresh would probably turn out even better!
- 4 chicken legs
For the marinade
- 1 cup pomegranate syrup
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 -2 tablespoon paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- salt, pepper to taste
For the Stuffing
- 1 1⁄2 cups rice, cooked
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
- 2 cups frozen spinach
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 scallions
- 2 teaspoons dill, dry
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons mint, dry
- 1 teaspoon thyme, dry
- salt, pepper to taste
- De-bone the chicken legs. To do this: with a sharp knife, cut around the skin and cartilage around the base of the knee joint. Slice upwards along the bone to the opposite end. Carefully separate the meat from the bone. You should end up with a butterflied (flat) piece of meat.
- Place a layer of plastic wrap over the chicken, and pound until slightly flattened.
- Prepare the marinade: Place the pomegranate syrup, honey, vinegar, paprika, onion powder, spices and salt/pepper into a bowl and mix well. Pour over the chicken in a plasic bag or other container. Allow to marinate a couple hours-overnight.
- Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the onions over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds (if using) and pine nuts. Toast for several more minutes. Add the scallions and spinach, heat thoroughly.
- Finally, add the dried herbs and a splash of water, cook for several more minutes. Mix in the cooked rice and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Spread the chicken meat out, skin-side down. In the center, add several spoonfuls of the stuffing mixture (it should be around ½ cup, whatever can fit).
- Fold the chicken up around the stuffing and secure with toothpicks. Arrange on a lightly oiled baking dish, seal-side down. Pour the remaining marinade over the mixture.
- Basting occasionally, bake for approximately 30-40 minutes (time may vary), or until browned and no longer pink inside.
I thought this would be too spicy with the mint, thyme, and dill. I also thought my kids wouldn't touch it. They at the meat part not the rice. I, however, LOVED this. It was soooooooooo good. Worth every bit of trouble (and it was a lot since I had to make my OWN pomegranate syrup which took forever.) I'm usually into whatever is quick and easy, but this was soooo worth it. My father-in-law enjoyed it too. And he's kind of PICKY.
I marinated the chicken overnight and through a day but I suggest much less marinading time. I made half the amount of marinade as it makes a lot. I exchanged the red wine vinegar for much less cider vinegar with the mother in it because wine vinegar is derived from wine. I used the larger amount of sweet paprika but maybe hot paprika should be used in this. I used some minced fresh cooking onion as I didnt have any onion powder. I used extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. For the stuffing I used cooked white Basmati rice, 1/2 tsp tahini instead of sesame seeds, fresh baby spinach, no sugar as it never said when to add it so I didn't relise until later. Instead of dill, as I didn't have any and thyme I just used an Italian seasoning which includes thyme but I can see dill would be good here. I had to use fresh mint so I used less as I thought it would be a stronger flavour than dried but I didnt taste it coming through in the result. I wont make this again because I didnt like the flavour of the chicken legs though the marinade does taste pretty good. Also it is too much trouble for the result I had.