Chicken, Sausage and Pumpkin Bake
What a cool few weeks we’ve been having. Very unusual for mid-summer Melbs, but in some ways a nice break from the scorching heat and an opportunity to turn the oven back on and cook up some warming fare. As any one who I’ve caught up with lately knows, I’m having a bit of an affair with Silvia Colloca right now. I love her show, Made In Italy on SBS, and her blog and cook books are getting a run for their money at my place right now. Cakes, biscuits, slow cooked-roasts, you name it, I’m cooking it. Her rustic Italian approach is a good change from the trend of the moment and is all about the quality of the produce. On that note, I made the most deliciously simple bake tonight. The stale bread and porcini turn otherwise ordinary ingredients into something extraordinary. One of those one-pot wonders that fills the house with the most amazing aroma, tempting the boy and Dad back in from their late afternoon park session with wide eyes and noses held high. Everyone cleared their plates, including bub, which leaves one very satisfied cook at the end of the evening! You won’t be disappointed with this one.
8 chicken thighs fillets (I used 6, cut in half lengthways which was more than enough for dinner for a couple of nights and aren’t chicken thighs enormous these days??)
8 pork and fennel sausages or Italian sausages, cut into 3 (again, I used 6 continental sausages)
3 thick slices of stale bread, cut into chunks (a good quality sourdough will be so much better)
½ cup of dried porcini mushroom
3 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
3 French shallots (or small brown onions), peeled and cut in half
1 celery stick, cut into small chunks (I added a chopped onion too, just for a bit more veg)
½ cup of dry white wine
200g pumpkin, sliced with skin on (I used Jap which looks lovely when cooked in the skin and tastes divine)
salt and pepper for seasoning
rosemary sprigs or sage leaves
Preheat your oven to 200C. Soak the mushroom in cold water for 30 minutes.
Place chicken, sausages, shallots or onion, celery, wine, bread, rosemary or sage, soaked mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of their soaking liquid, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Tip the bowl onto an oven tray sprayed with oil or lined with baking paper. Hide the soaked porcini underneath the meat to prevent them from drying in the oven.
Add the pumpkin slices, drizzle the oil on top, season with a bit more salt and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and golden.