roast chicken legs with braised kale and white beans recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Roast Chicken Legs with Braised Kale and White Beans

Whole chicken legs might be my favorite cut of chicken to roast, as you get the crispy skin and lots of tender meat plus they make for a beautiful presentation. I love this easy rustic dinner combo for a healthy-ish weeknight meal. Going into the holiday season can be tough what with the near constant eating so I like to add in a few lightened up, vegetable-heavy entrées. Of course I still have to throw just a bit of butter under the chicken skin – it makes for the crispiest skin. I’m all about finding a middle ground between healthy and flavorful cooking.

Braising the kale, and letting it simmer with chicken stock, makes it much more tender - I prefer it to raw kale any day. The white beans add additional protein and make the meal even more filling.



For the roast chicken:

2 medium lemons, thinly sliced

6 whole bone-in, skin-on chicken legs  

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the braised kale and white beans:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 bunches curly kale, stems removed, roughly chopped

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

2 (11 ½ -ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained


For serving:

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese



For the roast chicken:

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Arrange lemons in an even single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Use your fingers to separate the chicken skin from the meat. Slide the slices of butter under the skin. Rub each of the chicken legs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper then arrange on top of the lemon slices.    

Roast until the skin is crispy and the meat has cooked through entirely, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.


For the braised kale and white beans:

Heat a large high-edged sauteuse pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through (may have to work in two batches depending on the size of the pan).

Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 10 seconds then add the kale and toss to coat in the oil. Sauté, stirring occasionally until the kale has wilted. Lower the heat to medium-low then add the chicken stock and white beans and simmer until the kale is tender and most of the stock has evaporated, about 15 minutes.


For serving:

Divide the kale and white bean mixture among shallow pasta bowls and top with a leg of chicken. Top each with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately, warm.


Serves 6.



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