Roast Chicken Legs with Spicy Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

Serrano chiles are hotter than jalapeños, and this salsa is very hot, so adjust the amount to your preference. Serve this dish with Nopales-Arugula-Roasted Pepper Salad. Prepare the salsa up to 2 hours before serving; if you do so more than an hour before, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.

Chef Ian Clark

    • Phases1234
    • 4
    • 15 Minutes
    • 20 Minutes
    • 35 Minutes
    •  US  Metric
  • Nutritional information per serving

    • 5g
    • 9g
    • 4g
    • 32g
    • 36g
    • 490


  • Salsa:
  • 1 Hass avocado, pit removed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tamatillos
  • 10 sprigs clinatro
  • ½ cup roasted garlic* (about 10 cloves)
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 Serrano chiles**, seeded and roughly chopped
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chicken:
  • 4 small chicken legs with thighs, excess fat removed but skin intact
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs cilantro


  1. Place the avocado, tomatillos, cilantro, roasted garlic, vinegar, water and chiles in a blender; purée just until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in onion and salt. Set aside.

  2. Heat oven to 350˚F.

  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

  4. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken legs with skin side down and sear for 1–2 minutes until golden-brown. Flip the chicken, transfer skillet to the oven and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until just done. (Juices will run clear.)

  5. Place one chicken leg on each plate and spoon one-quarter of the salsa around each plate and on the chicken. Garnish each with a sprig of cilantro.

*To roast garlic, toss the cloves in just enough olive oil to coat and place in a square of aluminum foil with about 1/8 cup of water. Fold and crimp foil pouch to close and place in a preheated 350°F oven for about 40 minutes.

**Wear rubber gloves when handling chile peppers and be careful not to rub your eyes.