The flavor and hotness of salsa you choose for this simple three-ingredient recipe for Tex Mex chicken drumsticks will determine the spiciness of the completed dish. If you're making this for kids, unless they are used to (and like) spicy foods, use the mildest salsa you can find and cut down on the chili powder.
But if you're cooking for a bunch of chili heads, find the hottest salsa you can! Add some chopped or sliced jalapeños or habanero peppers too and increase the chili powder. You could add cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
You can make this recipe with chicken parts as well, or with chicken breasts. But think about using bone-in pieces, because they have the most flavor. You can use boneless pieces, but they will cook in about half the time. Bone-in chicken breasts will be done faster than drumsticks or thighs. Just be sure to use your food thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is correct and safe before you serve this recipe. Chicken breasts should be cooked to 160 F; thighs and drumsticks should be cooked to 165 F. Make sure the thermometer is not touching bone when you check the temperature.
You could also add other ingredients. Some chopped tomato would be nice, as would chopped yellow summer squash or some sliced green onions. We would add garlic, too (of course). To make this a one-dish meal, add some tiny red or creamer potatoes. You might want to precook the potatoes in the microwave first to make sure they are done in time.
Of course, if this dish is going to be spicy you'll need some cooling dishes for contrast. Hot cooked rice is the ideal accompaniment, as it will soak up the delicious sauce, as are warmed flour tortillas. Some fresh fruit, perhaps in a salad, is necessary too. Add lots of cold beer and sparkling water for a great dinner.
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks or chicken pieces
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 (16-ounce) jar chunky salsa
- 1 to 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9" x 13" pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- You can skin the chicken or leave the skin on.
- Place the chicken pieces in the prepared baking dish, skin side up, and top with the chopped onion.
- Pour the salsa evenly over all, and sprinkle with chili powder, salt, and pepper.
- Bake the chicken at 350 F for 55 to 65 minutes until the juices run clear and chicken is thoroughly cooked, to 165 F on a meat thermometer, basting occasionally with pan juices. Serve immediately.