Many cooks have difficulty finding just the right degree of doneness with chicken legs. If you're going to bake or roast them in the oven, grill them or broil them, it's all too easy to end up with chicken that's blackened on the outside, but still raw or undercooked near the bone. Par-cooking the legs by simmering -- not boiling them -- in hot water can help prevent this by shortening their cooking time once you put the chicken legs in your oven. As a bonus, it also cooks away part of the fat from the chicken legs.
Place your chicken legs in a pot large enough to hold them without crowding. Cover them with water or chicken broth, and move the pot to your stove top.
Bring the pot to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down until the chicken legs are just simmering, not boiling. Poach the legs for 10 minutes, moving them periodically with a pair of tongs to ensure even cooking.
Remove the chicken legs to a colander with tongs, not a fork, to prevent puncturing them and losing their juices. Let the legs drain for 5 minutes.
Transfer the chicken legs to a baking sheet or casserole dish, and season them with salt and pepper. Add any extra flavorings or sauces at this point.
Slide the sheet pan into an oven preheated to 400 F. Bake the chicken legs for 15 to 20 minutes, until their juices run clear or their internal temperature reaches 160 F when tested with a thermometer. Serve hot.
- Recipe Tips Glossary Terms: Parboil
- "The Encyclopedia of Food"; Jacques Rolland, et al.; 2003