Pam Anderson is the author of Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get Togethers. Her blog is Three Many Cooks.
Festive Roast Chicken and Stuffing
The chicken can be rubbed with the spice, the bread cubes toasted, and the sausage and vegetables cooked up to 2 days in advance. After you just brown the chicken, mix the stuffing, bake, and serve. If you need to bake this dish in a disposable pan, remember that the thin foil will not retain heat like a heavy roasting pan, so you’ll need to increase the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes.
10–12 cups ½-inch bread cubes, plus 2 cups finely ground fresh bread crumbs (use a food processor) from a couple loaves of dense, crusty Italian or French bread
3 Tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 Tablespoon plus ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
2½ tsps freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tsps fennel seeds, minced
1½ tsps finely grated orange zest
2 Tablespoons olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
4 large split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 4 pounds), protruding rib bones and excess fat trimmed, rinsed, patted dry, and halved crosswise
1 lb bulk Italian sausage or 1 pound links, casings removed
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
1½ cups finely chopped dried Turkish apricots
½ cup minced fresh parsley
2 large eggs
1 qt low chicken broth
Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet and spread bread crumbs on a separate baking sheet; let dry for several hours or overnight.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake bread cubes until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. (Do not toast crumbs.) Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons Italian herbs, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, fennel, orange zest, and oil in a small bowl. Smear mixture over both sides of each piece of chicken.
Heat a large heavy roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. When wisps of smoke start to rise from pan, add chicken in 2 batches (breasts skin side down). Cook until skin is well browned (3 to 4 minutes), turn, and cook until chicken breasts lose their raw color on remaining side and skin on thighs is well browned, another couple of minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add sausage to roasting pan and fry, stirring frequently to break it up, until it loses its raw color, about 5 minutes. Add onions and celery to pan and continue to cook until vegetables are soft, 7 to 8 minutes. In a large bowl, mix bread cubes, bread crumbs, sausage mixture, apricots, parsley, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian herbs, remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper. Whisk eggs into broth in a medium bowl and pour over stuffing ingredients. Toss to coat and let stand for 10 minutes so bread absorbs broth.
Turn stuffing into unwashed roasting pan. Top with chicken (breasts skin side up) and bake until attractively brown and chicken is fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Drink An Alsatian white, a buttery West Coast Chardonnay or, for red, a delicate, fruity Pinot Noir