An almost weekly meal in this household is a roasted chicken. What can I say? I like how this is a meal that is easy to plan, cooks in one pan, feels kind of elegant, and most importantly, generates 2.5 quarts of chicken stock to keep in my freezer until I’m ready to make a soup. Only (1st world) problem? It’s starting to feel like falling into a rut.
So how to vary the routine? Instead of roasting a whole chicken, I decided to roast some chicken thighs with links of Italian sausage on a bed of potatoes.
I took some chicken thighs and some halved sausage links, browned the outsides in a hot skillet of olive oil then set them in a roasting pan with potatoes that had been tossed with garlic cloves, fresh thyme, rosemary, and lemon zest. This was then left to roast in the oven and in around 30 minutes later, we had juicy pieces of meat and crispy browned potatoes, heady with flavor from cooking in the chicken and sausage fat. A squeeze of lemon juice added more lemony flavor as well as acidic brightness that brought out the woodsyness of the fresh herbs. Faster than roasting a whole chicken and just the slight change-up that was needed in this routine.
Note: I totally blanked on this but had intended to roast sections of fennel bulb along with the potatoes. Give this a try as I think the fennel would be delicious with the Italian sausage and would provide a nice, refreshing anise flavor to pair with the lemon. And FYI, for roasting a whole chicken, lately I’m in love with the simplicity and thoroughness of the Thomas Keller method for roasting a chicken with root vegetables.
- 1 lb bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 lb hot Italian sausage links, halved
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 4-5 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 4-5 smashed garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon each fresh thyme and rosemary leaves, chopped
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet and set over medium high heat. Sprinkle both sides of each chicken thigh with salt and pepper, about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper total. When oil ripples, add the chicken thighs skin side down and the sausage halves. Leave the chicken thighs undisturbed to let the skin brown, but monitor the sausage halves, moving them around so the casing browns on all sides. It should take about 5-6 minutes total to brown the chicken thighs.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. While meat is browning, toss the potatoes, garlic cloves, about 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and half of the herbs and zest in a roasting pan with about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and sausage and sprinkle all of the pan’s contents with the remaining herbs and zest. Roast for about 30-35 minutes or until chicken temperature is 175 degrees F and potatoes are browned. Remove from oven, and squeeze lemon juice over all of the pan’s contents. Plate family style by putting potatoes on serving platter and topping with chicken thighs and sausage.