Two On Tuesday: Chicken & Grapes Recipes

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Right before the new year, I binged on Smitten Kitchen and found her recipe for Harvest Chicken. The flavors are simultaneously traditional and unique. The prep is exceptionally simple. The leftovers are.... well, there are rarely any leftovers, to be honest.

I like making this in my cast iron Dutch oven, but you can certainly use a skillet if you choose. Season the chicken and brown it in batches on both sides in some hot oil. Once all the chicken is browned, add it all back into the pan. The original recipes then calls for a cup of olives and a cup of grapes, but in this iteration I doubled that. I also threw in the rosemary sprigs whole and diced up the shallots. Bake at 450° for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear and a thermometer registers around 165°.

Once done, scoop out all of the solids onto a platter. Add a splash of white wine and chicken stock, bring to a boil, and reduce by half, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all of the drippings from the chicken - a quick and delicious gravy to pour over the plated chicken.

It is incredible. Rosemary on chicken is such a perfect combination, but then you add the sweet grapes and salty olives and it just takes it to another level of delicious. I served this iteration with some roasted asparagus and couscous.

What to do with a bag of red grapes in the fridge? Ina Garten's Roasted Sausages and Grapes recipe answers that question in beautiful ways. Typically I make this with pork sausages but went with chicken ones - two sweet, two spicy - this time around. My friend April does an even quicker version with sliced pre-cooked sausages. Whatever approach you take, it's another great blend of spicy meat and sweet roasted grapes, with a bright burst of balsamic vinegar to boot.

You start by effectively butter-coating the grapes. I threw in some more rosemary because why not? It's delicious. Then, in a break with Ina's recipe, I add a few glugs of balsamic vinegar. I like it cooking into all of the flavors while it's in the oven. Nestle your sausages into the grapes and bake in a hot oven - Ina says 500, but I think my oven was closer to 450. I turned the sausages over after about 10 minutes of a total cook time of 20 minutes. Quel surprise - more asparagus. I'm telling you, I go HEAVY on the 'spara every spring. This is a great weeknight dinner that tastes fancy but is very simply executed.

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You can be sweet or spicy, but no sour grapes.

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