These are cold, lean months, and everyone is in financial recovery from the holidays. Cooking with the cheaper cuts of meat will help stretch your grocery dollar, while not compromising on any flavour.
Drumsticks are typically the overlooked part of the chicken in the meat cooler. They don’t get all of the glory like the thighs and breasts, but after eating (more like devouring) these drumsticks, I have a new affinity for them.
Drumsticks are super affordable ($7 for just shy of a kilogram) and this recipe feeds 4-6 easily. The spicy, yogurt-based marinade makes the meat ever so tender, and the high heat ensures a crispy skin. Plus, the warm spices have a way of transporting us to warmer climes in the dead of winter.
Be sure to have lots of napkins handy, as these tasty drumsticks are finger licking good.
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs garam masala OR curry powder
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper (use less for less heat)
3 Tbs grated fresh ginger
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/3 cup (80 mL) plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup (60 mL) canola oil
2 Tbs (30 mL) fresh lime juice
1 lime, zested
2 tsp salt
8-12 chicken drumsticks
mango chutney, for serving
lime wedges, for serving
cilantro, for garnish
- In a small skillet over medium-low heat, combine the spices (paprika to cayenne) and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. The spices should become fragrant. Remove from the heat.
- In a small food chopper or food processor, combine the spices, ginger, garlic, yogurt, oil, lime juice, zest, and salt. Process until smooth.
- Carefully, using a very sharp knife, make a few slashes in each of the drumsticks. This allows for greater surface area so the marinade can penetrate the meat.
- Place the drumsticks in a shallow glass dish and pour the marinade over them. Toss well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but for best results, overnight is optimal.
- Preheat the oven to 450º F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set an oven-proof rack over the foil and grease it with canola oil. Arrange the chicken on the rack, spooning over any leftover marinade. Roast for 45 minutes, turning about halfway through. The chicken should be golden, crispy and cooked through. Serve on a platter with mango chutney, lime wedges, and cilantro.
If you really want to stretch your dollar, roasting a picnic ham or pork shoulder is where it’s at. I found a 2 Kg bone-in picnic ham for just under $12. This is enough meat for four meals, be they pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, etc.
The slow roasting of the pork shoulder ensures, tender, fall off the bone meat that has loads of flavour. I love using this cut for meal prep, as the meat freezes very well.
2 Kg bone-in whole smoked picnic ham or pork shoulder
2 celery stalk
1 red onion
6 garlic cloves
4 bay leaves
Handful of potatoes (optional)
- Remove the pork from the fridge one hour before you want to cook it. This allows it to come up to room temperature, and ensure even cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 425º F. Season the meat with some freshly ground pepper. The picnic ham is smoked and already salty, thus no need for any more salt.
- Place the pork skin-side up, in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes uncovered. Turn the heat down to 300º F, remove the pork from the oven and cover it snugly with aluminum foil. Return the pan to the oven and cook for another 5 hours.
- Just before you remove the pork from the oven, peel and slice the onion into quarters. Chop the carrots and celery into chunks. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully lift the pork onto a baking sheet. Stir the vegetables, garlic and bay leaves into the fat. I also like to add potatoes if I’m making this as a meal for my family. Place the pork on top of the veg and return the pan to the oven where it will roast for another hour or so, until the meat and veg are tender.
- Remove the pan from the oven and tent it with foil for 15 minutes. The meat should be falling off the bone. If you twist a fork in the side, it should move very easily.
- If you are using this as a Sunday roast, just pull the meat apart and serve on a platter with the vegetables. If you are planning ahead and want to use the meat for pulled pork, tacos, carnitas, on pizza, sandwiches, etc, just shred with your hands when the meat is cool enough to handle comfortably.