I love to roast chicken — whole or in parts, in the oven or low and slow on the grill — but my favorite parts of the bird always have been the legs and thighs. This recipe was inspired by a simple, rustic, braised turkey thigh recipe by New York Times columnist Mark Bittman and the many experiments I’ve done with roasters and herbs over the years. By the time this pan of golden goodness comes out of the oven, my kitchen has been cleaned, table set and there's nothing to do but pour some wine and dig in! —AmyW
olive oil, divided into 2 tbs and 3 tbs
fresh rosemary, minced
fresh thyme, chopped
fresh sage, chopped
chicken leg quarters, rinsed with cold water and patted dry
fresh ground pepper
sweet or hot Italian sausage, depending on your zesty preference, cut into 1-inch pieces
cloves garlic, minced
large sweet onion, diced
stalks of celery, diced
medium-sized fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut in half and then cut into 1/4-inch slices
white wine, divided in half
Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
14.5-ounce can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, such as Muir Glen
Combine 2 tbs of oil and the next three ingredients in a small bowl to make an herb paste. Set aside to let the herbs get all happy.
Prepare surface of large roasting pan with non-stick spray or olive oil.
In a large sauté pan on the stove, heat the remaining 3 tbs of oil over medium to medium-high heat, adjusting accordingly to avoid burning. Season leg quarters with the ¼ tsp salt and ½ tsp fresh ground pepper, using more or less to your taste preferences. Sear leg quarters until golden brown on both sides, working 2 to 3 leg quarters at a time as pan size allows. Remove leg quarters and set aside on large work surface or platter.
Add sausage pieces to the pan, drizzling in more oil if necessary. Sauté until browned, then remove from pan to a plate or bowl.
Add garlic, onion, celery and fennel to the pan and sauté. Add one cup of white wine to deglaze after about 2 minutes and continue to sauté until onions and fennel start to soften and take on a golden color. Remove pan from heat.
Time to revisit the leg quarters. Rub the herb paste evenly all over them and leave them on the work surface.
In the large roasting pan, combine contents of the sauté pan with the sausage, carrots, potatoes, can of tomatoes, juice of the orange and the cup of white wine. Give it a good stir, then nestle the leg quarters into the vegetable-sausage mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Roast for 40-50 minutes, giving the veggies the occasional stir. If it looks like mixture is getting too dry, add broth/stock as needed during roasting. Juice of chicken should run clear, not pink, when pricked with fork.
Remove pan from the oven. Serve with some crusty bread to sop up the juices. Enjoy!