Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chicken, Sausages and Sage: One dish cooking at its best.

In the roasting pan, a one dish wonder!

         The bones for this recipe came from a famous English cook and television personality who shall remain nameless.  It’s not that I don’t devour the prose in the cookbooks the chef’s written.  It’s beautiful and seductive.  But when it comes to the recipes I’ve tried, I am sure the chef in question would request anonymity.  In my experience, they’ve led to some seriously flawed dishes.  A curry that was swimming in more liquid than Lake Ontario comes immediately to mind.  A cake that collapsed, on not just the first attempt at baking it, but the next as well.  I am not sure what the cause is.  Translating metric ingredients into cups and ounces?  Un-tested recipes?  So you may ask why then would I tempt fate again?  I was seduced by a photograph showing deeply golden chicken and perfectly browned sausages.   The dish not only looked fantastic, it had been vetted at the kitchens of Food and Wine Magazine under the supervision of the great Grace Parisi, for whom I have undying respect.  So I tossed aside worries about its principle author and made it for a Sunday supper, adding a few ideas of my own.

Meyer Lemons are sweeter and smaller
than ordinary lemons and they're in stores now
         Chicken on Sunday is my idea of true comfort food.  And pork sausage is my idea of heaven any day of the week.  Here the two tastes come together with some onions and mushrooms roasted in the same pan.  And if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s marinated overnight, it would take all of 15 minutes to prep and an hour and half to cook.  The marinade tenderizes the chicken with its lemon juice and flavors it with onions, mustard, sage and Worcestershire sauce. I used lots of Meyer lemon juice, which is sweeter and much less tart than ordinary lemon juice.  You might want to cut back if you are using ordinary lemons.   The next day, you pour the marinade into a large roasting pan, top it with the chicken, tuck the sausages, lemons, onions and mushrooms in amongst the chicken pieces, and into the oven it goes.  
        When it comes out of the oven, moist and golden brown, you’ll have a real crowd pleaser on your hands. Chicken lovers of all stripes will have their fill of juicy chicken.  The sausage lovers will be in heaven because the pan juices give the sausage an extra boost of flavor.  The ideal serving is a bit of each. Andrew suggests cutting the cooked breasts in halves so that your plate doesn’t look like pile-up.  And if you can find them, use smaller sausages than those big guys.  If you can’t, cook the larger sausages intact and when the dish is cooked, cut them in half.  That way, we can enjoy comfort dinners like this one, comforted by portion control.  I’m sure it would easily serve six.  But if you have leftovers, just put them into a baking dish, add some chicken stock and bake them for half an hour at 350 degrees.  Serve this with some sautéed spinach and you’re done. Here’s the recipe

Recipe for One Dish Chicken, Sausage and Sage

2 lemons, halved
2 small onions, peeled and quartered through the root ends
1/2 cup pure olive oil
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon dried sage
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground pepper
One 4-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces*
Kosher salt
8 small sweet Italian sausages
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

*My cut up chicken from Trader Joe’s came with 2 split breasts, 3 thighs and 3 drumsticks. Clever cleaving if you ask me!
Squeeze the lemon halves into a large, re-sealable plastic bag.**
Cut each lemon half into 4 pieces and add to the bag along with the onions, olive oil, mustard, dried sage and Worcestershire sauce; season with pepper. Seal the bag and squish the ingredients together until well mixed. Add the chicken pieces to the bag and coat thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight.
**I was concerned about the chicken all fitting into one bag so I used two, splitting the marinade and the chicken pieces into halves.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Let the chicken stand at room temperature in the marinade for 30 minutes. Pour the contents of the bag into a large roasting pan. Turn the chicken pieces skin side up and season with salt. Arrange the sausages around the chicken and sprinkle all over with the fresh sage. Bake for 1 hour, until the chicken and sausage are browned; turn the sausages halfway through cooking. Transfer the chicken, sausages, onions and lemons to a platter, drizzle with some of the pan juices and serve.


  1. Looks divine. What did you do to the spinach?

    1. Thanks Lauren! It's a very simple saute that uses baby spinach leaves. A pat of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil go into a large covered skillet heated to medium, the spinach goes on top seasoned with salt and pepper and the spinach is ready to serve in about 5 minutes or less.

    2. Thanks. Do you think fresh sage will work instead of dry? I bought some and now have forgotten why.

    3. Lauren, the recipe calls for both fresh sage and dry but of course you can use fresh. It's likely preferable to the dried. MM

    4. We made the dish today and it was kick ass good. The flavors were delicious and best of all, it was so easy to prepare. Thanks for a great recipe.

    5. So glad you liked it! I thought it was a keeper for sure. XOX M

  2. I was just looking for more recipes to utilize my bumper Meyer lemon crop. Once again, you've presented a recipe I can't wait to use.

    Thanks, Monte.


    1. Dear Katie, this is a wonderful way of using Meyer lemons! And really a great dish to have for a crowd. We enjoyed the leftovers just as much the next day. So glad you can use this recipe! MM

  3. I know the curry you're talking about and I agree, but I don't think it's really representative of Nigella Lawson's recipes. If you love her One-Pan Sage and Onion Chicken and Sausages you should give her St Tropez Chicken a go. It's from the same book (Feast) and is just as delicious.

    1. Oh Michele, you blew her cover! I will definitely try the St Tropez Chicken and I really love her writing. I just could never figure out why so many of her recipes are just a collossal disappointment. As Julia Child 'you're only as good as your worst recipe'.