I seem to have been on a roast chicken mission recently born mainly out of a desire to clear out my freezer stocks. I have 3 freezers – one chest, which seems to reach maximum capacity very quickly. I hate wasting food so freeze any scrap of leftovers I can. This on top if being a food stylist where any excess shoot food that is freezable gets tossed in. I had these chicken pieces and amazing Sicilians sausages from Giovanni’s so decided to combine in a saucy tray bake with fingerling fir potatoes (delicious) and loads of seasonings.
I’m big on flavour. I don’t shy away. If the recipe says one bay leaf I always find it too little. I will often add more of everything because ramping up the flavour is what I like to do. These Sicilian sausages have a lot of fennel, which is delicious so I wanted to find flavour combinations that go well. I consulted my all-time favourite recipe development bible – aka The Flavour Bible to see if I had missed anything. They often have a few intriguing pairings that can take a recipe to the next level. I settled on an orange profile and add fresh juice and marmalade. Loads of Bay – perhaps too much but I don’t care. Parsley, thyme, Dijon and garlic went into the mix. The rest is left up to the cooking process, where the juices of the bone-in skin-on-chicken and fennel sausages seep into the stock making a delicious jus to pour over.
This was essentially a variation of two of my favourite roast chicken recipes. Roast chicken with white wine and herbs (best –ever) plus my chicken, pork sausage and marmalade tray back that appeared in my first book.
In my last 2 chicken recipes I landed up using a good organic vegetable stock cube simply because I had run out of any decent chicken stock and have to say I love the flavour it adds. I’m thinking of making this a trend. When the flavour of the stock is integral in a recipe such as this, it is important to use the best. I think vegetable stocks round things off adding a different element.
The other big bonus about this recipe is its absolute ease in preparation, you literally toss the chicken, sausage and spuds into a large oven tray, mix the stock and other ingredients in a jug, then pour it over. Bang in the oven and one hour later you have a supper on the table. Perfect for a week night dinner. I guess you probably want to make some kind of green side to go with this, so vegetables would be better here as salad could get all wilted in the hot sauce. Maybe peas or beans.
I didn’t feel like opening a whole bottle of wine to use only half a cup. I know I know I could have had the rest myself, but somehow day drinking on my own while working on a Monday didn’t seem like a good idea. I absolutely ADORE cooking with sherry. It adds so much depth and flavour to a dish, and for this I used the Douglas Green Medium Sherry no 2, which is produced, and bottle in Jerez in Spain. Yip the real deal, and the slightly sweet and rich layers of nuts and spice really add to the overall success of this dish.
I like to coat the exposed part of the chicken and sausage with a light coat of olive oil. I want that bit to get golden while roasting. I also loosely cover my roast about halfway through to prevent over browning. This all depends on your oven, but keep a watchful eye.
Obviously the kind of sausage you pick will have a major affect on this recipe. I’m sure a good old pork banger would be fab – I mean who doesn’t love that, but I really liked the hand crafted Italian Sicilian sausages I bought from my favourite Italian deli. Perhaps try and source something really interesting here.
Recipe – feeds 4
- 8 pieces of free-range chicken (bone in and skin on) – I used thighs and legs
- 4 large Italian sausages – I used ones with a strong fennel flavour
- 500gms new potaoes – I used pink fir fingerlings
- 400ml stock (vegetable or chicken – I used 1 vegetable stock cube)
- ½ cup Medium Cream Sherry
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 Tbs chopped parsley
- a few sprigs o f thyme
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- a few bay leaves (I used like 7 semi dried – for fresh use less)
- Juice of half an orange
- 2 Tbsp fine cut marmalade (I used Bonne Maman)
- drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400 F
Place the chicken pieces, sausages and potatoes in a large deep sided roasting pan. Mix all the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken. Drizzle the olive oil on the bits of sausage and chicken that are sticking out of the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Roast uncovered for an hour, or until cooked through.
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