Happy Easter with Roasted Chicken and Italian Sausage

Multi-colored Easter chicks (image from inquisitr.com). Hopefully, this isn't a practice isn't continued today.

When I was in the fourth grade, we played bingo for prizes the day before Easter vacation.  As I recall, the prizes were the usual Easter fare—chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and of course, Peeps.  But, the ultimate prize was what I was after—two purple-dyed chicks.

It seemed like we played for hours with the teacher calling out numbers.   So far, I had no luck, but the big prize was not on the table yet.    I was saving my win for those chicks.

Finally, it was time for the big game—the final game before Easter vacation and the game for those neon-dyed beauties.  The teacher called the first number.   I had it!  I placed my dried pinto bean on the square.   I was off to a flying start to win those chicks.

The bingo game seemed to drag on and on.   Was anyone going to win?

Finally, the teacher called out B5.  I had it too.   My face began to turn red as I realized I had won.

I was just able to croak out a stuttery “I got it!””   As the teacher checked my card, I could not keep my excitement to myself.  I now owned a pair of perfect purple Easter chicks.

For some reason, mom picked us up at school that day (which was probably a good thing—she saved the poor chicks a ride home on the bus).  She didn’t seem to be as excited as I was about her daughter being the proud new owner of Easter chicks.  But, she found a shoebox and we hauled them home.

We lived on a farm but it was a farm without chickens.  We found a place for them in the barn and as soon as dad got home we built a make-shift pen.

My parents soon realized that the newness and excitement of winning the chicks was wearing off.  After three months, if you looked close, you could still see a bit of purple fluff on these almost fully grown chickens.  We also realized that we had a rooster and a hen.

One day my Grandma asked if she could buy my chickens.   Was it a miracle?  Not only would I be minus one chore, but she was going to pay me $10!  I figured that if I really missed them, I could visit them at Grandma’s.  SOLD!

I don’t remember much about my chicken days.  I don’t remember their names or if I even named them.   I remember the win and I remember selling them to Grandma.  It was a good thing I was not so attached to those purple Easter chicks.

One Sunday as we sat around Grandma’s dining room table (you can see where this is going), my younger sister asked, “Which purple chicken are we eating?”  There was an awkward pause and everyone looked at me.

We had always lived on a farm from the time I could remember.  We always ate what we grew.  We knew that when we bottle-fed a calf that one day it would be sold or fattened up for butchering.  Even the lambs and pigs we raised by hand for showing in 4-H would be sold or eaten.  (And they even had names!)  This was just life on the farm.

Was I mortified that Grandma had butchered and cooked one of my purple Easter chicks?  Not really.

“Pass the chicken and noodles, please.”

I am not a huge fan of chicken and noodles (and it doesn’t have anything to do with the Easter chick incident from my past), so here is another recipe that could work well on the Easter table.

Roasted Chicken with Italian Sausage
(Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe in Food & Wine—March 2007.)

2 T. crushed brown mustard seeds
1 T. Champagne vinegar
1/2 c.  extra virgin olive oil
3/4 c. white wine
1 T. dried chervil
1/4 c. fresh flat leaf parsley
1 T. Worcestershire
1 lemon
1 large onion, peeled  (I used five “over-wintered” onions  from the garden.)
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf (fresh is best)
Ground pepper to taste
5 lbs. of chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, or assorted pieces)
1 (16 oz.) pkg Italian Sausage (I used some locally made authentic Italian sausage.)

In a blender, pulse together mustard seeds, vinegar, oil, wine, chervil, parsley and Worcestershire.  Place liquid in a large sealable plastic bag.  Quarter lemon and onion and place in bag.  Add bay leaf (crushed), rosemary, and ground pepper.  Add chicken pieces.  Mix all ingredients together in bag to coat chicken well.

Not a very photogenic meal at this point.

Let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

To roast, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  (I used the convection roast setting.)   Remove chicken from refrigerator and let stand for 15 minutes.  Pour chicken and marinade into a large roasting pan.  Remove bay leaf and rosemary.  Place chicken in pan so skin side is up.   Arrange sausage(s) around chicken.

This was a long sausage link! I placed the onions and lemons on the bottom of the pan and layered the chicken on top.

Roast for 1 hour.

After thirty minutes, turn the sausage(s).  (If you would like the chicken browned more, place under the broiler for 1 minute.)

The skin got crispy and delicious.

You may sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Serve chicken and sauce over rice.  (I actually just stirred my parsley in the rice before serving.)

Now, if I could just be so lucky with that Mega Million Lottery!

16 comments to Happy Easter with Roasted Chicken and Italian Sausage

  • My mom tells a familiar story except the chicken is replaced with a lamb. To this day she does not eat lamb. I never really cared for it either. Thanks for sharing that wonderful story with us. Happy Easter.

    • Eliot

      A lamb would have been more welcome on our farm. Being an educator myself, I can’t believe what that teacher was thinking when she brought those chicks to school. I guess she thought they would be OK because it was a rural school. ?????????

  • What a fun and wonderful Easter story my friend 😀
    My greatest memory is how we went to recess in kindergarten and our teachers drew bunny footprints around the room, leaving eggs at each table – it was an waster miracle 😉
    Great special post my friend!

    Happy Easter!
    Choc Chip Uru

  • Ha I did NOT see where that story was going!!

  • LOL, if a city girl had told this story it would have gone much differently, with her breaking down into sobs and swearing off meat for the rest of her life when she found out she had been eating Mr. Purple. Ha!

    My Grandparents had a farm which they had goats (they sold the milk) and chickens on, and sometimes cows. A few times when we visited they’d have a huge chicken slaughter, which was quite atrocious to our innocent city eyes. lol. We were quite aghast. One of the headless chickens charged at my littlest sister, then about 4 years old, and she ran off screaming in terror. The thing followed her, turning with her every turn so that it was seemingly chasing her. Zombie chicken! She didn’t turn vegetarian after that, so I guess there is some hope for us city folks after all. haha

    Loved hearing your story, and your roasted chicken with sausage sounds like such a delicious meal!

    • Eliot

      Mr. Purple! LOL

      My other grandmother raised a TON of chickens one year and they had a huge chicken “dressing” (my doesn’t that sound better than slaughter?) on spring break. It was my sister and my jobs to stick our tiny fingers into the carcasses and scrape out the lungs. Wow—having typed that it really sounds gross. But, we weren’t freaked out and we still eat chicken. 🙂

  • I try to stay away from farm animals for that very reason. It is better if they have not been a pet!
    You Easter meal does look like you had a wonderful feast. I am sure the juices from the sausage cooking helped flavor up that chicken quite a bit-yum!

  • Wow, this dish looks so tasty. We also had chickens when I was a child – I remember the clearly! Such luttle cuties but quite ugly when they grew up! Ha ha!

  • this sounds awesome! i love the addition of italian sausage!

  • Those poor coloured chicks… your Grandma sounds like a pretty amazing woman and I’m all in favour of eating what you grow – that’s a respectful and appreciative way to treat life.

    Thanks for sharing this story Eliot!

  • My son once won a pair of chicks at the fair. I gave them to a farmer who I tackled, I mean, bribed. *sigh* I have no idea why they would give out chicks at the fair. We didn’t live in the country. We lived in the city. I still feel bad about it…

    Also, my best friend when I was younger raised rabbits. One time, we came home to a lovely stew. It was only after we started eating that her mom told us that we were eating “Fluffy”…

    I’d rather have your yummy chicken!!!

  • Hahaha….well that’s life on a farm! At least the purple chicken was good in the chicken and noodles! 😉

  • It is amazing how childhood experiences influence our choices and decisions. I love chicken and I always appreciate a good recipe when I see one. And this one is really good!

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