It was about 7 pm when I surveyed the kitchen with a satisfied eye. The counter: gleaming. The stove: wiped down. The dishes: in the dishwasher, humming…no, murmuring, almost imperceptibly. Knives: hand washed and dried, and firmly planted on the magnetic strip on the wall. Coffee: Beans ground and prepped for the following morning’s French press, water already in the kettle.
I think I broke a record.
I achieved a personal best the other night, something I have struggled with these last several weeks. I’m often in the kitchen into the later hours of the night, struggling to keep up with the dirty dishes from the day’s cooking, packing lunches, and readying for the next. Getting done early meant closing up the kitchen for the night, kissing the kiddos and hubby goodnight, and having time for my book.
It. Was. Awesome.
The mountain of dishes is never an accident. I often find myself cooking dishes that require dirtying up every pot and pan I own. But now that busy days are here once more, I’m all about one pot meals again. Like Roasted Chicken Sausages with Brussels Sprouts, Fennel and Potatoes.
Letting sausages roast in the oven has become my new favorite thing: less splatter to bother with on the stove, and no need for me to hover over the stove during the busy part of my afternoon when everything seems to require my attention at once. Loaded with potatoes, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts (which you know I adore), and fennel, there’s something for everyone when it comes out of the oven. Lean chicken sausages with basil and feta – everyone eagerly stabs their forks into those. The sweet potatoes are mine, the pillowy russets for my daughter. Caramelized fennel twirls around the fork. My husband reaches for the brussels sprouts with the crispiest bits, my son and I gobble up the rest.
And there’s just one pot to wash after.
Tell me, what are your secrets for closing up the kitchen early at night? Please do share. I need more of them.
Roasted Chicken Sausages with Brussels Sprouts, Fennel and Potatoes
I have a special affinity for one pot meals, especially when it's oven roasted, requiring minimal fuss. This one never disappoints.
8 chicken sausages (I used fresh Chicken Basil Feta sausages from my local market)
4 medium potatoes (I love a combination of russet and sweet potato), peeled and cut in large chunks
1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the sausages in a roasting pan or two large cast iron skillets. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss. Place the roasting pan in the oven and let it roast, rotating the sausages periodically, for about 10 minutes.
Toss the potatoes in a bowl with a little more olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to the sausages and continue roasting for another 25 minutes. Stir periodically.
Combine the brussels sprouts and fennel in bowl, lightly drizzle with a little more olive oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the vegetables to the roasting pan, stirring it into the sausages and potatoes, and continue roasting, stirring periodically, for another 15 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts begin to crisp on the outside and are just fork tender and brilliant green.
Adapted from Chicken Sausages with Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts, Bon Appetit (January, 2001), via Epicurious.