Sunday, October 24, 2010

Poor Man's Rich Dish

Sunday dinners were sacred in my family. The generations would gather around the table and eat until we popped. There always seemed to be a Mets baseball game on in the living room, some Auntie telling us kids to stop running around and my Nana's famous chocolate cake. Because of the size of my family we had to take turns having these dinners at my great grandparents and even my grandparents home but each unit of my family kept the tradition. 

The truth of it was that we never had much but like the story of stone soup( ) the table was always laden with more than expected but never less than what could feed us.  Sunday meals were about sharing and preparation. My Aunts and older cousins would shop on Saturday afternoon for whatever ingredients were needed. Saturday evenings were spent prepping, seasoning, soaking, mixing and baking and Sunday mornings, after church for some, were spent cooking, frying and finishing  the meal as a group effort.

The following recipe is one I now make when family is coming and I need a large platter dish that is easy and economical but impressive when served. The basic ingredients are chicken parts, a few sausages, onions, potatoes and rosemary. I have been known to switch out the sausage for bacon, add mushrooms or shallots, use basil instead of rosemary and red peppers instead of onions. Because of this versatility the dish can be as large or small as you need.. 

All the work is in the preparation but it is so worth it. And if there are any left overs it gets better the next day!
You Will Need
A Large Flat Bottom Skillet
A Large Baking Pan
Olive Oil
At least 2 heads of Garlic, 1/2 head chopped, the rest smashed for baking
LOTS of Rosemary
Salt & Pepper
1 Chicken, cleand and cut into pieces, lightly salted and peppered
4 Sausages, cut into pieces (I tend to use chicken or turkey)
1 1/2 lb Small Potatoes, cut into quarters
6 Small Onions, peeled and quartered
Heat Oven to 350F
Heat Skillet 
Cover the bottom of skillet with thin layer of olive oil for browing chicken
Have baking dish ready
Add chopped garlic to heated oil

add a few sprigs of Rosemary
 add a bit of salt & pepper
Add chicken pieces, skin down
Allow the skin to crisp before turning
Pour everying, oil and all, into the waiting baking dish
If all pieces can't fit into the skillet, repeat the steps in batches
 Reheat skillet and cover bottom with another thin layer of oil
Add garlic, a few Rosemary sprigs and sausage.
Again, brown all sides, don't cook through
Pour into the baking dish
 Pour a bit more oil into the hot "sausage-bits-on-the-bottom" skillet
Add garlic and Rosemary and drop in Potatoes
Allow them to brown and pour into waiting baking dish
You may need to work in batches
Now forget the skillet an pay attention to the baking dish
Mix in cut raw onions and smashed garlic cloves

Salt & Pepper
Add lots of Sprigs of Rosemary
Cover with Foil and bake for about 35-45 minutes
Juices should form, if not I add a little water mid-way though.
Serve with a great French bread and a good white wine!

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