No faff food: Spicy chicken

In the latest in our series of food cooked by real families in real kitchens, Jo Haywood tests a recipe that promises to liven up a chicken leg or four

Yummy Sunday... or any day of the week. Spicy chicken legs
In the latest in our ‘no faff food’ series, Jo Haywood tests out a tasty treat for all the family

Spicy chicken

Sundays used to be bum-numbingly boring. At our house it was homework, hair-wash, Antiques Roadshow and a plate of fish fingers. If I was lucky, mum would send me scuttling down the street after Mr Whippy’s van with her biggest Pyrex dish and orders to bring back enough vanilla ice-cream for five plus a lick for the cat.

Generally, however, it was dullsville all the way from breakfast to bedtime. But this was the Seventies, a time when the shops remained firmly shut on Sundays, children were expected to entertain themselves (without tweeting, texting or having their retinas permanently glued to an Xbox) and there was never, ever anything on the telly.

Now in our modern, whizzy, 24/7 culture, there’s no excuse for yawning and dramatic sighing on Sundays anymore (although most children can’t help themselves because, well, they’re a bit annoying that way) and there’s certainly no excuse for boring food.

Ingredients

(serves four)

4 free-range chicken legs
8 tbsp plain yogurt (I use Fage fat-free Greek, but any will do)
3 tsp curry powder (my kids prefer the mild variety, but if you like it hot feel free to turn up the heat)
3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1½ tsp ground cumin

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 220/gas 7.
  • Make four or five deep slashes in each chicken leg (go on, be brutal – if you don’t hear the squeak of knife on bone, your slashes aren’t deep enough).
  • Chuck the chuck legs into a large bowl and pile on all the other ingredients. Then roll your sleeves up and dive in with your hands, massaging the spicy-yogurty mixture into every nook, cranny and slash.
  • Lightly grease a baking tray – a couple of squirts of rape seed or olive oil spray will do nicely – and put the chicken on it, making sure the pieces have room to breathe.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending how buff your chickens are). The legs should look pleasantly caramelised on the outside but still be juicy within.

A plate of fish fingers and a bowl of Mr Whippy’s finest just won’t cut it anymore. So why not try this Sundaytastic treat instead? It’s an easy crowd-pleaser that tastes great any day of the week – but especially on Sundays when you fancy a roast but can’t be faffed with all the trimmings.

Serve with whatever you fancy. I had some cold baked potatoes left over from a previous dinner, so I scooped out the insides, mashed them with crème fraiche, popped them in an ovenproof dish, topped it with a handful of parmesan and baked it to bubblyliciousness for the last 20 minutes or so of the chicken’s cooking time.

I also had a quartet of corn cobs lurking at the back of the fridge, so we had those too (cue a host of inappropriate beaver jokes from the 13-year-old).