- 4 Chicken LegsFresh or fully thawed
- ½ cup Sour CreamAll-Natural
- ½ cup MayonnaisePreferably not Light
- 1 Tbs Kosher Salt
- 1 Tbs Black PepperFreshly Ground
- 1 clove per piece Fresh GarlicMinced
- ½ cup water
Roast Chicken a la Tatar? But WHY?!
As you might know, I grew up in Russia. So my dear Grandmother was a Tatar from the Volga region.
If you have never heard of the Volga Tatars, they are Russia’s second largest ethnicity. The Volga Tatars descend from the Bulgars, a semi-nomadic warrior tribes that occupied the Volga region back in 7th century.
In her youth, my Grandmother was stunningly beautiful; with her long curly black hair, blue eyes and high Mongoloid cheek bones. Even when she got old, her hair was beautifully silver, and her blue eyes shone like a pair of bright aquamarines against her tan skin.
Grandmother was a very strong and proud woman who loved her family to death. I was the first grandchild of hers, so she always spoiled me rotten! When she cooked her tantalizing Tatar dishes, she always had a pretty silk gauze scarf on her head. Grandmother loved cooking; for her it was a way to show us her love.
Talk to Your (Grand)Parents Before It’s Too Late!
One of her signature dishes was Roast Chicken a la Tatar that she simply called the Chicken; an easy-to-make and big-on-flavor Tatar comfort food. She made it mostly on busy days, and by no means was it a festive dish! I loved it.
When both of us grew much older, I finally asked my frail Grandmother to share some recipes with me. By then, she stopped cooking completely. She was too weak for doing that. Grandmother told me that she did not really remember how to make any of those dishes anymore. My heart was broken because I realized how stupid I was not to write down her recipes when she still cooked regularly, and her little kitchen was full of dear smells from my childhood.
Here is the Roast Chicken a la Tatar the way I remember my Grandmother cooked it. I know that she started making it back in 1950s. Try cooking this recipe when you need a good hearty dinner but don’t have a lot of time to mess with the prep!
- I use the chicken legs in my recipe. You can also cut a whole chicken into pieces. Use a thermometer to check on the temp in the thickest part of the bird: if it reads 160-165F, it’s cooked! If you don’t have a thermometer, check and see if your chicken pieces run clear juice when poked.
- If you prefer gluten-free food, make sure to use a GF Mayo! There is a very good article on Very Well website, where they explain which mayo brands are gluten-free!
- You can use dry garlic powder instead of the fresh minced garlic! Just use about ⅓ tsp per a larger piece of chicken (such as a thigh).
If you are thinking to compliment this Roast Chicken a la Tatar with a hearty side, give a try to my Mom’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes from 1977!
In a small mixing bowl, combine sour cream and mayo. Mix well. Mince garlic finely and place it in another small bowl. Add salt and pepper to the minced garlic.
Rub each piece of the chicken with the garlic mixture and place all the pieces in a single layer, the bottom side up, in the baking dish. Carefully pour water into the baking dish. Smother ½ half of the sour cream and mayo mixture over the chicken. Place the baking dish onto the middle rack in the oven. Turn the oven on 420F.
Bake the chicken for 25 minutes, then, keeping your face away from the hot oven, flip the pieces over and smother the rest of the sour cream and mayo mixture onto the chicken pieces. Bake until the skin is nice and crispy and the chicken pieces run clear juices.