Writing for Serious Eats / Sweets means I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about dessert. Half moon pose in yoga, the instructor running through the dialogue—”Pushandcomedown, pushandcomedown”—, sweat gushing out of every pore—everything goes unnoticed. Stuck in line behind someone who insists on spelunking in their Mary Poppins-sized handbag for a measly $0.10 coupon—I’m not annoyed. Small child screaming bloody murder in the seat behind me on crowded flight—I tune it out. My mind is putting together a list of possible cake and icing combinations, nut and spice mixtures, color schemes suitable for propping the finished cake.
Dinner has taken a secondary role, so much so that last week when my husband was out of town I had a whole bag of microwave popcorn for dinner (only after I’d eaten a large slice of that day’s cake, right off the cake stand).
When I do get around to making dinner, I rummage around the kitchen seeing what’s around and crossing my fingers that the vegetables I bought last weekend haven’t morphed into alien forms (I found a length of kielbasa in the crisper drawer once and upon closer inspection realized it was actually a long-forgotten and mutated carrot). One of the dishes that most easily comes together and simultaneously rescues onions, bruised apples, and the last handful of potatoes is roast chicken.
I’ve written about roast chicken before, and expect to see more variations because it is one of my very favorite things to make. Nothing to me says “I cooked a lovely dinner!” to me more than roast chicken. It’s fuss, uses just one pan, and doesn’t make a big stink in my apartment.
Try this version with crisp garlicky skin, caramelized lemon pieces, chunks of tart apple, toasty roasted potatoes, and sweet onions. Oh, and sausage, too.
EASY ROASTED GARLIC CHICKEN WITH SAUSAGE, APPLES, & ONIONS
Equipment: cutting board, chef’s knife, roasting pan, grater, paper towels, tongs, instant-read thermometer
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Notes: You can substitute the whole chicken with bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (all breasts, all thighs, etc. or a combination of white and dark pieces).
- Easily core the apple pear by cutting it in half, then scooping out the core and seeds with a 1-teaspoon measuring spoon (metal works best).
When seasoning chicken, I like to estimate ¾ teaspoon per pound of chicken.
1 medium-sized yellow onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 Granny Smith apple or 1 firm seckel pear, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces (See Notes)
8 garlic cloves, peeled
3 fresh Italian sausages, cut into 1-inch thick rounds
1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds), cut into pieces (See Notes)
2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper (See Notes)
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half lengthwise
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
- Combine onion and apple in roasting pan. Smash 4 garlic cloves with the side of a chef’s knife and add to pan. Add sausages, thyme, sage, red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss everything together with hands.
- Finely chop remaining 4 garlic cloves. Combine with lemon zest in small bowl and add enough olive oil to cover (about ¼ cup). Microwave uncovered for until oil is bubbling and garlic is fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
- Cut lemon into quarters and toss with vegetables.
- Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
Rub garlic mixture all over chicken.
- Arrange chicken pieces, skin side down, over vegetable-sausage mixture. Bake for 35 minutes.
- With tongs, turn chicken pieces skin-side up and increase oven temperature to 450°F. Continue to bake until skin is crisp and golden and temperature registers 160°F, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer roasting pan to cooling rack and allow kitchen to rest 10 to 15 minutes prior to serving.