Tag: cayenne pepper

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Butter Beans and Mint

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

Five tasty C’s: coriander seeds, cumin, curcuma longa (turmeric), cardamom and cayenne pepper! The list of spices for my roast chicken legs is long but each single one adds its strong character to the aromatic result. I mixed a generous amount of their fragrant qualities into a golden marinade made of olive oil and lemon juice to let them infuse the chicken’s sizzling skin while cooking in the oven. The air in the kitchen smelled just wonderful and so did the meat when I put the tray onto the table. I also cooked some slices of lemon and butter beans in the spiced oil, the legumes skin burst and their velvety, soft inside mixed with the juices. It literally asked to be soaked with fresh ciabatta bread!

My mother often makes chicken legs in larger quantities when she has many people staying at her house, when my cousins visit to help her in the garden, or when her grandchildren visit and she isn’t up for an extensive dinner. I completely understand why, this dish is the ultimate comfort food, it’s easy to prepare (all you have to do is put the chicken legs on a tray and cook them in the oven) and you can easily customize the recipe. In late summer I cooked chicken legs with Moscato wine, grapes and thyme and in spring I glazed the skin with honey and roasted the meat with carrots and sage. You could also adjust my chicken with spiced peaches and work with the legs instead of the whole bird and enjoy the fruit’s sweetness together with the tender poultry. There are so many options! Sometimes my mother just cooks it with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, plain and simple. Just the idea of sitting in her garden eating the chicken leg with my fingers makes my mouth water!

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

 

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Butter Beans and Mint

For 2-4 people you need

chicken legs 4
canned butter beans, rinsed and drained, 250g / 9 ounces (double the amount for 4 people)
coriander seeds, crushed in a mortar, 1 teaspoon
ground cumin 1 teaspoon
ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon
ground cardamom 1/4 teaspoon
cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, 1/4 teaspoon
lemon, cut into thin slices, 1, plus 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
olive oil
coarse sea salt
fresh mint leaves, a small handful, to serve

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (I use the Rotitherm setting which works perfectly for poultry).

Whisk 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the lemon juice and spices. Arrange the chicken legs in a baking dish, rub them on all sides with the spiced oil and sprinkle the skin generously with sea salt. Mix the beans with a splash of olive oil and arrange them around the meat. Put the slices of lemon on top and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Pour some of the juices over the meat a couple times while it’s cooking. Check the meat with a skewer, only clear juices should come out when it’s done. If you like, turn the grill on for a few minutes until the skin starts sizzling. Serve with fresh mint and ciabatta bread.

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

 

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

 

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

 

Spice Roast Chicken Legs with Beans and Mint

A Greek Feta Dip with Harissa and Cayenne Pepper on Saffron Bread

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

The Greek stand at the market pokes my weak spot for spreads and nibbles. Bowls full of stuffed vine leaves, bean salad, olives, dips and feta cheese in all kinds of variations, I could always buy a box of each of these delicacies and line them up on my long dining table. Together with some fluffy flatbread and a glass of red wine, this is as good as a holiday!

As much as I enjoy the convenience of just going there and choosing whatever my taste buds feel like, I also like to make my own feta dip with herbs, spices or olives. This time I go for a spicy spread with harissa, cayenne pepper and some fresh red chili peppers. It’s accompanied by my wonderful loaf of saffron bread which I baked especially for this dip as I know and love its sandwich qualities. This yellow spice is strong but not overpowering and always manages to bring in its special flavour. The bread is very aromatic, spongy, juicy, it’s so good that it doesn’t really need a topping, some olive oil sprinkled on top is already heavenly. I could have left it at that but I like the combination of saffron and harissa, there wouldn’t be a better bread for my dip, not even a greek flatbread from the market.

Tomorrow I will share the recipe for the saffron bread with you but here’s my Greek feta dip with harissa and cayenne pepper (which tastes as good on any other tasty, fresh bread):

Mix 200g / 7 ounces of Greek feta cheese crumbled with a fork with 100g / 3.5 ounces of cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Add 2 teaspoons of dry harissa spice mix and a pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot and spicy) and whip with a fork. I didn’t add any salt as the cheese makes it salty enough. Sprinkle with finely chopped fresh red chili pepper and some olive oil and spread voluptuously on a thick slice of bread. This dip is enough for 4 people as a starter, the 2 of us emptied the bowl in 2 days. It would be great for a picnic or barbecue as well!

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

 

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

 

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

 

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper