Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Easy Baked Chicken with Fennel and Sausage

This chicken drumstick recipe strikes the perfect balance between ease of preparation and depth of flavor with fewer than five ingredients! As it cooks, the fennel caramelizes and produces a soft,  creamy texture that complements the savory Italian sausage and chicken legs beautifully.

If you're concerned about the nitrites in the sausage, you may want to read Chris Kresser's post on processed meats. I read it while working on a cookbook for a client who challenged my use of sausage in a recipe. Before my research for that book, I believed that purchasing nitrite-free bacon was important. However, I've come to believe it's akin to purchasing a product simply because the label says it's gluten-free. Don't get me started.

Kresser explains the issue well, but in a nutshell, our bodies produce nitrites in far greater amounts than we could obtain from food. Moreover, processed meats contain fewer nitrites than do foods that we'd never think to restrict, green vegetables for example. While processed meats shouldn't form the basis of your diet, they're a delicious complement to an ancestral way of eating.

serves 2
1/4 cup olive oil 
4 chicken drumsticks
1 fennel bulb
2 hot Italian sausages
Freshly ground pepper
Sea salt 

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Slice the fennel bulb into quarters and then into 1/2-inch thick pieces. If you wish to leave the base of the bulb intact, it will keep each of the slices held together but is too tough to be palatable.
3. Slice the sausage in 1- to 2-inch-long pieces.
4. Arrange the fennel, chicken, and sausage in a large baking dish.

5. Drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat.
6. Season with pepper.
7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the fennel is soft. If the chicken and sausage cook more quickly, you may remove it to a serving platter and continue cooking the fennel for another 10 minutes.

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