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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Easy Weeknight Dinner - Chermoula Buttermilk Roasted Chicken Legs

Have you stopped by Bazaar Spices and smelled the Chermoula Spice? It smells incredible - first the cumin hits and wakes up your senses, then you notice the subtle notes of cinnamon and allspice. If you keep sniffing, your nose starts to almost twitch with the spiciness of red pepper powder and black peppercorns. Chermoula is the spice I was most excited to try, and the spice blend I recommend most to those who want something spicy, versatile, different, and yet familiar at the same time.

Influenced by Moroccan cuisine, this North African spice blend is so, so delicious and deserves a spot in your spice drawer. I've been using it to spice up my roasted veggies (cauliflower, potatoes, or squash, for example) and add a little somethin' somethin' to hummus. Or, heated in a little olive oil, it's delicious swirled into soup or drizzled on eggs. Really, you can't go wrong with Chermoula.

Today, though, I'll show you an easy, spicy weeknight meal: Chermoula Buttermilk Roasted Chicken Legs. With the littlest amount of planning, you can pull a batch of these chicken legs out of the fridge, pop them into the oven, serve with some grains and some veggies, and have dinner in 45 minutes. Ready?

Chermoula Buttermilk Roasted Chicken Legs
adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Buttermilk Roast Chicken

2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons Kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon for sprinkling
2 teaspoons Chermoula, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
1 teaspoon Smoked Spanish Paprika, plus 1/2 teaspoon for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
About 3 pounds chicken legs
Olive oil for drizzling

Combine the buttermilk, agave nectar, salt, Chermoula, paprika, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Put the chicken legs in a gallon-sized zipper bag and pour the buttermilk-spice mixture over the legs. Zip the bag and squish everything around to evenly coat. Put the bag in a flat baking dish or on a plate (just in case of leakage!) and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 and up to 48 hours. Flip the bag over every 8 hours or so to redistribute the buttermilk mixture.

When you're ready to roast, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with foil. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and arrange in the baking dish. Drizzle with a little oil (2 tablespoons, give or take) and sprinkle with the remaining salt, Chermoula, and paprika. Roast the legs for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot from the oven. I put mine on a bed of polenta and stewed beans with kale, but these spicy legs would be delicious with almost anything.

Happy spicing,

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