If you only try one of my recipes, ever, you have to try this one. Bold words, but it’s honestly one of the best recipes in my arsenal. Seriously, it’s one of those dishes where the stars and planets align in sheer perfection: juicy roasted chicken with crisp skin, perfectly browned roasted vegetables, delicately spiced chorizo sausage, sweet onions and nutty garlic cloves, and pan juices packed with flavor from the sausage and orange . It’s a recipe my roomie asks for time and time again… particularly in the winter.
It doesn’t require masses of prep work. You don’t have to stand over the stove, hovering, whisking, and babysitting. And it’s hearty enough for a family meal, but flavorful enough that you’d be happy making it for guests. And they’d be happy eating it.
It’s an adaptation of a recipe from Nigella Lawson. I have to confess I haven’t tried very many of her recipes, but this one’s a winner! I keep meaning to look at more of her food, but honestly just haven’t gotten around to it. It’s like the perpetual stack of books next to my bed waiting to be read: good intentions, but never enough time.
One of the things I like most about this recipe is that it’s not about measuring and being precise. It really allows you to feel you way through the recipe. The more I cook the more I realize good cooking comes from being able to follow a recipe, but great cooking comes from being able to take a recipe and listen to the food, and your own experience and instincts, to find your way to the perfect dish.
The original has fewer ingredients, and frankly the cooking temp just didn’t work for me… too high. The first time I tried this (according to the original instructions) it was WAY over-cooked. So I used my judgement and made adjustments to both the cooking temp and the ingredients. It only called for potatoes and onions, but I thought the vegetables needed some amping up, and so I went to one of my favorite ingredients: mushrooms. I also added the garlic cloves, because there’s nothing like the sweet, nutty flavor of roasted garlic.
Additionally, it originally only used the orange zest, not the juice. I found that: 1) I didn’t like wasting the rest of the orange after I zested it, and 2) The real treasure of this dish is all the wonderful juices in the bottom of the roasting pan when you’re done. It just gives it that additional depth of flavor. I thought it could only improve an already tasty dish if I also added the juice of the orange… and I was right. Plus, the additional liquid in the pan helps keep the chicken moist, without compromising the roasting of the vegetables.
Hope you enjoy my version of this dish, and don’t hesitate to make your own adjustments to taste. Try a different kind of potato if you prefer it, or red onions instead of the white. Add parsnips or turnips. Omit something if it’s just not your cup of tea. I know there are some folks out there who simply refuse to eat mushrooms, so take them out if you fall into that lot. I strongly suggest you stick to the chicken thighs, but if you prefer the breast meat just make sure to keep it bone-in, otherwise they will be far too dry by the time you’re done cooking. Regardless, give this a try and absolutely DON’T leave out the chorizo… it’s the real secret to the flavor of this dish.
- Chicken thighs, bone in and skin on, 4 – 6
- Olive oil
- 8 oz. package Large Whole White Mushrooms, quartered
- 1 lb. Fingerling or Dutch Yellow potatoes
- 1 large White Onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 Whole head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- 1 large orange, zested & juiced
- 1 pkg. Johnsonville Chorizo sausage, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse and thoroughly dry your chicken.
- Place the chicken thigh’s skin side up, spaced evenly, in a large roasting pan. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cut your potatoes: smaller ones halved, and larger ones quartered. You want them all to be approximately the same size so they cook evenly.
- Cut your onion in half, then each half into six pieces. Try to keep the onion as whole as possible, they will roast more evenly with the rest of the contents of the dish this way, and are less likely to burn.
- Quarter your mushrooms, and peel your garlic cloves.
- Add all the vegetables to the pan, evenly distributing them all around the chicken thighs.
- Cut your chorizo into approximately 1 1/2″ pieces. I usually cut each link into four pieces and it’s perfect. Add the chorizo to the roasting pan, evenly spreading them around just like the vegetables.
- Drizzle all the contents of the pan with more olive oil, making sure to get most of the vegetables, and all of the chicken lightly coated with oil.
- Sprinkle each chicken thigh with a generous pinch of oregano. Coating the skin.
- Zest your orange directly over the roasting pan. Making sure to get a good amount on the top of each chicken thigh, then distributing the rest evenly around all the vegetables in the pan.
- Cut your orange in half and, using your hand, squeeze all the juice around the pan, making sure to get as much out as possible without squeezing out the pulp as well.
- Generously sprinkle the entire contents of the pan with salt to make sure it’s nicely seasoned.
- Put the roasting pan in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes pull the pan out and baste all the contents with the pan juices, making sure to generously baste each piece of chicken. This will ensure the skin’s nice and crispy!
- Put the pan back in the oven for another 30 minutes to finish cooking. Serve.
You can enjoy this dish as is with just the vegetables, or if you want you can also serve it with some rice. Just be sure to spoon some of the pan juices over top. That’s the good stuff!
Note: You can adjust this to make for as many people as you need. It’s easy peasy to double, just make sure you have a large enough roasting pan, or split it into two so you can spread the ingredients out evenly on the bottom of the pan, making sure not to crowd the food too much, otherwise it will steam instead of roast.