Roasted Chicken Legs with Olives

Poor Girl Roasted Chicken legs with olives
  • Yield: 4 servings

Estimated cost for four: $6.67. The chicken legs should cost no more than $1.49 per pound. Rounding up, we’ll call it $4.50 for the 4 legs. At $6.99 per pound, ¼ pound of olives will cost roughly $1.75. The olive oil will cost us 24¢, and the thyme approximately 18¢. If you do not have a good Italian or specialty deli in your area, jarred olives (with pits) are fine to use. In that case, you will use approximately half of the jar, and at $3.59 per jar, that’s an increase in price of approximately 30¢.


4 chicken legs, approximately 3/4 pound each
2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4pound good-quality olives, such as Kalamata or Castelvetrano, unpitted


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a large baking dish or lasagna pan, arrange the chicken legs in a single layer, skin side up. Using a basting brush or your hands—your hands are the best tools you have, remember—lightly coat the skin with the olive oil. Sprinkle the legs with thyme, and season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Scatter the olives around the chicken such that they have their own space in which to live. It is okay if a few olives reside in the fold of a leg, but you do want to try to get the majority of them onto their own space in the baking dish so that they are marinated with the chicken fat as they cook.
  4. Roast the chicken until the skin is crispy and juices run clear when the legs are pierced, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Serve each leg forth with one-quarter of the olives per person, even to the olive haters, for they need to taste and then find themselves transformed to olive lovers, or at least roasted olive lovers. Be certain to remind your dinner companions that the olives are not pitted so that no one loses a tooth. That’s no way to start a meal, or inspire a love of roasted olives.

Reprinted with permission from Amy McCoy’s Poor Girl Gourmet: Eating In Style on A Bare-Bones Budget (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010). See more recipes and tips on Amy’s blog.