Spiced chicken legs with chickpeas and olives


These spiced chicken legs are a delicious one-pan meal. Hearty chickpeas and big flavors from olives, onions and lemon balance out a not-so-subtle rub of paprika, garlic and cumin for the chicken.

After marinating the drumsticks, you'll simply bake all of the ingredients in a casserole dish for 50 minutes. A hodgepodge of Mediterranean flavors, I like to add boiled new potatoes or rice to lap up the delicious cooking juices leftover from the baking. But a crisp chopped salad doesn't make a bad addition either.

If you don't like olives, like two of my favorite people in the world, you can swap them out with capers. You'll want to scale back from 1/4 cup of olives as suggested below – use 2 tablespoons of capers instead.

What you need

  • 1.5-2 lbs chicken drumsticks (about 6-8 drumsticks)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt for marinade, plus 1 tsp to season chickpeas (explained below)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black or white pepper
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup green olives
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 15.5 oz can chickpeas

How to do it

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small mixing bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, 1 1/2 tsp salt and pepper into a paste. Using your hands or a plastic brush, coat each chicken leg evenly in the paprika paste, and place into a greased 9- x 13-inch casserole dish, like a Pyrex. Allow the chicken legs to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature.

While chicken legs marinate, roughly chop onion into 1/2-inch wide pieces, slice the olives in half vertically, and cut the lemon into 8 even pieces, leaving the peel on. As you chop, add the onions, olives and lemon into the casserole dish with the chicken legs, evenly distributing the ingredients around the chicken legs. Then drain the chickpeas before adding to the casserole dish. Finally, sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over chickpeas to season. 

Fit a piece of foil over the casserole dish, and tightly seal around the rim of the dish. Place the casserole dish in the oven, and bake the chicken legs for 50 minutes.

Allow the chicken to cool for about 5 minutes before serving the chicken legs alongside potatoes, rice or a chopped salad. 

Leftovers should be stored in a tightly sealed container for up to five days in the refrigerator.