Last Updated: May 24, 2021
How many ways can one cook a chicken? Countless, for sure. However, I bet you’ve never thought of incorporating cinnamon into a savoury dish, have you? This Lemony Braised Chicken Legs recipe is not only novel in that way, but it also only uses five core ingredients and they all can be easily bought from the supermarket—or you might already have them in your kitchen. Don’t worry if you don’t have cinnamon sticks stashed away in your pantry; you can easily swap it for cinnamon powder if that’s all you have on hand.
Preparation time: 5 minutes; Cooking time: 30 minutes (pan-frying) + 90 minutes (simmering)
Step 1: Peel and slice the onion. Cut the tomatoes into wedges.
Step 2: Season chicken legs liberally, with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Heat your pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sear the chicken legs skin side down, for about 10 to 12 minutes, or till golden brown. There’s no need to cook the other side, as you’ll be simmering it again later.
Step 4: Once seared on its skin side, remove and put them aside.
Step 5: In the same pot, add in the sliced onions and cook till brown and aromatic.
Step 6: Add tomato wedges and cinnamon sticks or powder. Stir till the tomatoes softened slightly.
Step 7: Add chicken legs back, cover, and let it cook for 45 minutes on low heat.
Step 8: After 45 minutes, stir all the ingredients thoroughly and leave to simmer for another 45 minutes on low heat.
Step 9: After the whole 90 minutes, add in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and add salt or pepper, to taste, if necessary.
In spite of the impatience that comes with leaving this dish to simmer for a total of 90 minutes, the wait is well worth it. I expected to have to add plenty more salt and pepper at the end of the 90 minutes, but when I went in for a taste, it was absolutely perfect. The cinnamon is merely an aftertaste without diminishing the natural sweetness of now-reduced tomatoes. The lemon added a pop of zing that magically didn’t amplify the acidity of tomatoes to the point of sour.
Let’s not even begin on the tenderness of the chicken legs—they were beautifully succulent and flavourful. As someone who’d rather toss aside all her tomatoes in a salad, I mopped up every last wilted tomato on my plate using bread, for a satisfying dredge.
Expected damage: S$5 – S$8 per portion
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