Roasted Chicken with Winter Squash and Venison Sausage Grits

Texas-based chef Del Grande shares recipes for hearty cold-weather fare: Roasted Chicken with Winter Squash and Venison Sausage Grits.
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Texas-based chef Del Grande shares recipes for hearty cold-weather fare: Roasted Chicken with Winter Squash and Venison Sausage Grits.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole chicken (approximately 4 lbs)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. assorted herbs, roughly chopped Winter Squash & Venison Sausage Grits
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 c. coarse white grits or polenta
  • 1 medium acorn or butternut squash
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream or Half & Half
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 8 oz. smoked venison sausage (or other smoked sausage), cubed or sliced
  • 4 oz. smoked cheddar, grated

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to broil. Butterfly the chicken and press to flatten. Brush both sides with olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. Place the chicken skin side down on a broiler pan and broil for approximately 15 minutes. Turn the chicken and broil the skin side until nicely browned.

Move the chicken to a lower rack. Set oven to bake at 275 degrees and roast the chicken for 45 minutes or until done. About 15 minutes before the chicken is done, toss the garden herbs in a little olive oil and distribute over the chicken.

For the grits, bring water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the grits or polenta. Lower heat and stir frequently until the mixture is thick and the grits are cooked. Half the squash lengthwise, brush with olive oil, then roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and cool. Scoop out the seeds, remove skin, and discard both. Set squash aside.

Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until sizzling. Add onion and garlic and sauté until lightly cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Add sausage and sauté one minute more.

Combine the cooked grits and squash with the onion, garlic, and sausage mixture. Mix well. Add heavy cream and salt and stir well. The mixture should be light and creamy. Transfer to a casserole dish just large enough to hold the mixture. Top with grated cheddar and bake at 300 degrees until heated through.

When ready to serve, cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the pan juices on top of the winter squash grits.

Does a chef who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry find himself naturally drawn to Western cuisine? For Robert Del Grande, no other fare compares.

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