Smitten Kitchen's Harvest Roast Chicken with Grapes, Olives, and Rosemary


[Photograph: Deb Perelman]

Oven-roasted chicken pieces make for a speedy and soul-satisfying cool-weather dinner. Deb Perelman's method in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is easy enough to throw together for a weeknight meal.

The chicken parts (of your choice; it's cheapest to cut up a whole chicken yourself) are first browned to crisp the skin and then shoved into a 450 degree oven surrounded by grapes, olives, and thinly sliced shallot. The whole pan is finished cooking lickedy-split (about 20 minutes or so), and then a super simple pan sauce is made from the drippings. It's a simple method, but it works wonders on each element; eaten alongside the chicken-fat slicked olives, the grapes are transformed from sweet snack to luscious garnish.

Why I picked this recipe: Roasted grapes are having an "it" moment these days, and I can't seem to get enough roast chicken this fall.

What worked: The grape-olive combo dresses up this weeknight roast chicken recipe into one elegant enough for a romantic Sunday evening or a small dinner party.

What didn't: I'm not a huge raw rosemary fan, so I'd add it to the pan sauce while reducing it next time.

Suggested tweaks: Changing much of anything here would completely alter the essence of the recipes; that said, Perelman encourages you to choose the cuts of chicken you like best and states that the recipe works just as well with a range in quality of grapes and olives.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook to give away this week.