Food/ Recipe

Roasted Chicken Legs in Garlic, Basil, and Tomato

Roast chicken with garlic, basil and tomato

This roasted chicken legs in garlic, basil, and tomato recipe has become one of my favorite ways to make chicken thanks to Jamie Oliver. I have made this several times for a stress-free dinner every time I have wanted to impress a guest. The simple flavours of this dish make it elegant enough to serve at any time. And I have done it in a variety of ways.

As a Pasta Dish

I don’t know why chicken and pasta often sound like a mismatch but don’t be mistaken. Many pasta dishes go with chicken. And this recipe pairs very well with linguine, farfalle, or fusilli; not forgetting spaghetti itself. I love Jaimie’s suggestion to shred the chicken and then toss it with the pasta. So much beautiful stock comes out of the chicken, naturally and it is perfect for coating the pasta, tomatoes, garlic, and crisped-up basil in tow.

As a One-pot Dish with Beans

Here is another brilliant suggestion. To serve with cannellini beans. I don’t often buy these however I have used butter beans before. And since learning that black-eyed peas start off as green beans I don’t mind trying it with a trio of black-eyed peas at different stages of development. 

Moorish with Mashed Potatoes 

This would be the epitome of Sunday lunch comfort food. Imagine serving the chicken with a side of creamy and buttery mashed potatoes? With the beautiful colours in the chicken, I would easily pass this off as a Christmas dish.

Sunday Lunch with Jollof Rice

And the pairing of basil and chicken is something Ghanaians love to do. My mum tells me Ghanaian basil is called Akukor besa or akoko mesa in Twi. It is called kow3 (kower) in Ga. It essentially means to make the chicken tasty or something along those lines.

And this Sunday I decided to pair it with Jollof rice. The rich tomato sauce that the rice is cooked in should be easily complimented by the roasted chicken legs in garlic, basil, and tomato. I typically spice my Jollof rice with garlic, ginger, and scotch bonnet pepper then add bay leaves and mixed herbs, or at least thyme. I think I will try and load it up with basil next time.

I only realized that Jamie’s recipe called for 1 fresh chili however I have never had this dish hot, perhaps for the sake of my children. However I can see how a mildly hot scotch bonnet pepper, or 1 split between the Jollof rice and chicken dish, could be an amazing combination.

Wine Pairing 

I am stepping out of my comfort zone a little with this one but I did a little research into what goes well with oodles of tomatoes and basil and the guidance came up with a Pinot Grigio or a well-balanced Rosé. Think fresh and summery. So I ordered Nederberg Pinot Grigio and honestly, it was a hit. My second choice was B&G Reserve Rosé. Unfortunately, the store did not have that so we came up with Cuvée Mistral rosé. How I arrived at these I am no longer sure but my Sunday lunch and wine pairing was a huge success. I will come back with another post on how I went about figuring out the pairing.

Until then I hope you enjoyed what I hope to be the first of many Sunday lunches with Freda. Happy cooking. Happy eating.

Roasted Chicken Legs in Garlic, Basil, and Tomato

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By Freda Muyambo Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

This easy and low-maintenance Roasted Chicken Legs in Garlic, Basil, and Tomato recipe is unbelievably simple yet sophisticated enough to serve a dinner that will impress beyond belief.


  • 4 chicken legs (if making for more people add a few drumstick and thigh pieces
  • Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 generous bunch of fresh basil, I usually leave the leaves whole but evenly spread out
  • 1 to 2 punnets red cherry tomatoes (if those are not available use ripe plum tomatoes, quartered)
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves then peeled and thrown in whole
  • olive oil



1. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F. Preparing this dish is so easy and fuss-free. Place the chicken pieces into the oven-proof pot. Season it with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper, and sea salt (I had garlic and herb sea salt) then drizzle with olive oil. Rub in the seasoning then ensure the chicken is lined up in the pot in a single layer. Toss in all the basil leaves, tomatoes, and garlic cloves, ensuring they are evenly scattered around the pot. I try to push the tomatoes and garlic in between the meat, but it doesn't matter. I end up with lovely browned and crisp leaves and tomatoes. Drizzle over a little extra olive oil. Place in the oven for 1½ hours. I don't bother with turning the tomatoes halfway through but I ensure it is baked uncovered until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone. Sometimes I yank up the temperature right at the start so the chicken roasts and locks in the moisture, then I cover the pot for 20 minutes. However covering is not necessary.


I served the chicken alongside a herb-filled jollof rice and it was just divine.

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  • Reply
    Hélène Habets
    February 4, 2024 at 10:26 am

    Freda, your tags/links don’t work when clicked on. Nonetheless, I love your site (was looking for a cow pea flour recipe and you’ve got me covered)!

    Kind regards, Hélène.

    • Reply
      May 9, 2024 at 2:52 pm

      Hu there. Thanks for letting me know. Its from when I migrated my site to my own domain. I have a lot of work to do ☺️.

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