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Arrosto misto is an Itlaian dish containing five types of poultry and sausage to create a real mish-mash of flavourful, meaty goodness. Meat lovers will love this dish, which is nicely rounded out with a cheesy, creamy polenta.
Preheat the oven to full whack.
Peel and add 3 cloves of garlic to a pestle and mortar, pick in half the thyme leaves and bash well with a good splash of oil and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Rub the paste all over the chicken, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Halve the lemon and place in the chicken cavity along with the remaining thyme sprigs.
Season the duck all over, rub in a good drizzle of oil, then finely grate over half the cinnamon stick. Place the remaining stick in the cavity along with the sage.
Place the chicken and duck on the top shelf of the hot oven, directly onto the bars.
Reserving the fronds, trim and halve the fennel, then add to a large roasting tray with the whole, unpeeled onions and garlic bulb. Place on the shelf underneath the birds. Turn the oven temperature down to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and cook for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when pierced.
Pick the leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs into the pestle and mortar (there’s no need to wash it first), then bash and bruise with a good splash of oil.
Season the pigeons, partridges and quails all over with salt and pepper and drizzle with the rosemary oil.
Gently untwist the links between the sausages and push the meat along to make one long sausage. Start by curling one end in, then twirl the sausage round itself in a spiral until you have one big circle of sausage.
Place a few bay leaves in between the spirals. Sharpen the ends of the rosemary sprigs, then use them to skewer and secure the sausages in place. Drizzle with oil.
Once cooked, remove the chicken to a plate, cover with tin foil and a clean tea towel, then leave to rest.
Place the small birds directly on the oven shelf next to the duck.
Place the sausage wheel on top of the roasting vegetables, then cook along with the birds for 30 minutes, or until the birds are tender and cooked through.
To make the gremolata, pick and finely chop the parsley leaves, peel and finely chop the garlic, then place into a bowl with the reserved fennel fronds. Finely grate over the lemon zest and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix well.
Once cooked, remove the birds from the oven and leave to rest. Move the roasting tray to the top of the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes.
To make the polenta, bring 1.1 litres of water to the boil in a large pan. Once boiling, gradually add the polenta, whisking continuously until combined. Continue to stir over the heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until oozy, thickened and smooth.
Place the cooked veggies on a plate, then skim away and discard the fat from the tray. Pop the tray on a medium heat on the hob, stir in the flour for 1 minute, then pour in the chianti. Scrape up all that lovely goodness from the bottom of the tray, then add the plum tomatoes, any resting juices from the chicken and the stock.
Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened and reduced to a lovely gravy.
Stir the butter into the polenta and finely grate in the Parmesan, adding a little water to loosen, if needed. Season to taste.
Carve up the birds and slice the sausage, squeeze the onions and garlic out of their skins, then serve it all up on a board with the polenta. Scatter the gremolata on top and serve the gravy and some steamed greens on the side.
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