Top Chef Stephanie Cmar’s Sweet and Spicy Recipe for Chicken Legs

This recipe for Chicken Legs with California Prunes from Top Chef Stephanie Cmar is packed with flavor. It’s easy enough for a weeknight but impressive enough for guests! The heat from the ancho chiles is balanced with sweet and tangy California Prunes. We recommend serving it with rice, mashed potatoes or flour tortillas to help soak up the delicious sauce.

Servings: 4
Prep Time:
Cook Time:


2 dried ancho chiles

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 lbs of chicken legs

Salt and ground black pepper

1 small red onion, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, sliced thin

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup chicken stock

¼ cup sherry wine

1 tablespoon white miso

16 pitted California Prunes

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves


Place chiles in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside. Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Pat chicken legs dry with a paper towel and dust pieces with salt and pepper. Sear on medium-high heat until browned on both sides, removing pieces to a platter when done. Reduce heat to low.

Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Add the cumin, stir, and then add stock and sherry. Combine then stir in miso. Remove from heat.

Drain chiles, cut in half and remove seeds and cores. Chop chiles and add to sauce along with prunes. Stir.

Return chicken and any chicken juices to pan. Try to cover the chicken with sauce. Cover and simmer on low 20 minutes, basting once more, until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove meat to a serving dish. Add vinegar to pan, bring to a simmer and stir. 

Add salt if needed, and a little water, if sauce has reduced too much. Spoon sauce and prunes over chicken. Scatter cilantro on top and serve.

Chicken Leg Recipe by Stephanie Cmar

If you love this recipe for chicken legs, you’ll probably love Chef Stephanie Cmar’s other delicious recipes featuring California Prunes: