Georgia Levy’s recipe for pickle and dill chicken with sour cream

<span>Pickle and dill chicken with sour cream.</span><span>Photograph: Kate Whitaker/The Observer</span>
Pickle and dill chicken with sour cream.Photograph: Kate Whitaker/The Observer

This is for you pickle heads out there. It celebrates not only the pickle itself, but the much ignored tangy brine, which many of us end up chucking away. Here it’s used in the sauce and stirred through the hot, schmaltzy potatoes, creating a mouthful that’s reminiscent of salt and vinegar crisps. The best ones for this dish are the vinegary dill pickles you find on the shelf, but you can add a little white wine vinegar if yours taste a little watery. It’s a super speedy number, just toss everything together and let the oven do its magic while you make the quick sauce.

Serves 4
olive oil 3 tbsp, plus extra to drizzle
leeks 2 medium, sliced into 2cm rounds
garlic 8 cloves, unpeeled
radishes 1 bunch (about 300g), trimmed
baby new potatoes 800g, halved
chicken legs 4
pickle brine 6 tbsp

For the sauce
sour cream or creme fraiche 200g
dijon mustard 2 tsp
dill 1½ tbsp, chopped
pickled cucumbers 100g (preserved in vinegar), roughly chopped
pickle brine 5 tbsp, plus extra, to taste

Preheat the oven to 220C fan/gas mark 9. Pour the olive oil into your largest roasting tin and add the leeks, garlic, radishes and potatoes and season well. Toss everything together so it’s coated in oil and evenly distributed, ideally in a single layer. Sit the chicken, skin-side up on top, drizzle over a little oil, season and place at the top of your oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 180C fan/gas mark 6 and roast for 45-50 minutes, stirring the veg once or twice if you remember.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the sauce, season, and set aside.

After 45-50 minutes, check the chicken is done by inserting a skewer – the juices should run clear. By now it should be golden. Remove on to a warm plate and cover with foil to rest. Stir the veg with the delicious schmaltz (chicken fat), then return to the oven for a final 10-minute blast to get everything nice and crisp.

As soon as the veg is out the oven and while it’s still super hot, stir in the 6 tablespoons of brine. Have a taste and add a little more if you like. Serve with the chicken legs and a big dollop of the sauce.

Georgia Levy is a food writer and author of Let’s Do Lunch (HarperCollins, £16.99)