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Pierna De Pollo

 

Pierna De Pollo is essentially Chicken legs prepared in Spanish style.  It is an extremely flavourful and enjoyable side dish that adds immense value to the entire meal. While this dish is popularly served at restaurants all over Spain, it is often prepared at home too as part of an elaborate family meal. 
 
 
Ingredients and Preparation
 
 
Skinless chicken legs, flour for coating, olive oil,  finely chopped onion, garlic and tomatoes, chicken stock, seasoning of salt and freshly ground black pepper are the main ingredients needed.
 
The chicken legs are coated with the flour. Olive oil is heated in a pan and the chicken is fried until evenly golden brown. In the same pan, onion and garlic are sautéed until transparent. Tomatoes are added and cooked for a few minutes. Then this mixture is cooled and pureed in a blender. Chicken stock is added to the tomato mixture and combined till a sauce like consistency is formed. Salt and pepper are used as seasoning. 
 
Finally, the chicken legs are arranged in a baking dish, covered with the prepared tomato sauce, enveloped with aluminium foil and baked for about an hour. The chicken needs to be baked until tender and it must be served immediately.    
 
 
Nutrition Facts
 
A serving size of about 465 g of Pierna De Pollo provides-
Total of 828.9 calories with 491 calories from fat
Total fat content of 54.6 g with 13.4 g of saturated fat
Cholesterol content of 278.1 mg
Sodium content of 310.9 mg 
Total carbohydrate content of 16.8 g with 2.6 g sugar and dietary fibre content of 1.3 g and remainder being other carbohydrate components
Protein content of 63.7 g 
 
Chicken, with skin, has not only a higher saturated fat content but double the overall fat content as compared to skinless chicken. Therefore it is important that chicken used should be skinned to avoid excess fat intake. In any case chicken is considerably lower in saturated fat than beef, pork and other red meat.  Chicken is a good protein source and there are studies that have indicated how lean protein in chicken protects against bone loss in the elderly. Chicken is one of the best sources of cancer-protective B-vitamin, Niacin. Selenium is an important trace mineral that plays a fundamental role in major metabolic pathways such as thyroid metabolism, energy production, immune system functions and antioxidant defence mechanisms. Selenium is an essential component of antioxidant enzyme - glutathione peroxidise that aid in detoxification and cancer protection. 
 
Chicken is an excellent source of amino acid tryptophan, Vitamins B3 and B6 and a good source of phosphorus and choline.  
 
 
Nutritional Improvement
 
 
Lightly steamed cabbage, kale or cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts may be had as an accompaniment to increase the intake of indole-3 carbinol that has anti-cancer properties. Similarly, use of balsamic vinegar, raisins and walnuts to this recipe adds a number of health benefits in terms of detoxification,  and fortification with fibre and minerals such as phosphorus, iron and valuable vitamins such as Vitamin E, B- vitamins.