It’s funny how the autumnal equinox can make an almost immediate change in the weather. With the overnight switch from summer to fall, you start to smell the faint hint of autumn in the air almost overnight. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I swear the slightest breeze feels just a tad cooler the day after the calendar date of this change of seasons. And with this real or imagined cooler weather comes the itch to crank up my oven and start using the warm and comforting flavors of this time of year. Hearty herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme are hallmarks of fall tastes; citrus, apples and pears are in season, and baking and roasting are the cooking methods that prevail.
For my first recipe of the season, I’m giving plain old chicken an injection of fall flavors with the addition of apples, rosemary, orange and smoked sausage in a one-pan roast. Pan-seared chicken legs and thighs are nestled in a bed of onion, apple, smoked sausage, seasoned with orange zest and fresh rosemary, and then roasted to golden-brown perfection in the oven.
On its own or paired with a few sides, this dish is a savory and flavorsome addition to your autumn recipe repertoire. It’s also very versatile: use lemon in place of the orange, sage or thyme to replace the rosemary, and you can even switch up the smoked sausage and use cured Spanish chorizo in its place.
One-Pan Roast Chicken, Sausage, Apple with Citrus and Rosemary
Makes about 6-8 servings
High-heat cooking oil (canola, grapeseed, sunflower, etc.), as needed
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.
Bring a large, oven-safe pan to medium-high heat and add enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. Dry off the chicken with paper towels and sprinkle it all over with a light dusting of salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down and let cook for about two minutes until the skin is golden-brown (don’t turn or move the chicken before that). Turn over and cook for another minute on the opposite side. Remove the chicken to a plate.
Add the sausage to the pan and let it sear for about a minute, then turn off the heat and throw in the onion, apple, zest, orange juice, rosemary, and a large pinch of salt and pepper; stir to combine. Nestle the seared chicken pieces into the vegetables. If there isn’t enough room to add all of the chicken, put some of the chicken and veggies into another baking dish.
Roast for 20 minutes then baste the top of the ingredients with some of the juices on the bottom of the pan. Return to oven and cook until the chicken is cooked through, another 10-20 minutes.
When cooked, remove pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. To serve, scoop some of the veggies on plates and top with a chicken drumstick and thigh. Garnish with chopped rosemary and a little orange zest.
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