Sometimes it's wonderful to be reminded how satisfying a roast chicken can be. This recipe from Jennifer Olvera's Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago doesn't try to approach the bird in some new and unique way. The chicken is simply cooked in a moderate oven with a stash of good ingredients. The result is a properly roasted bird with an outstanding pan sauce.
Interestingly, it was only later that I realized that Olvera's recipe had actually called for cutting the chicken up into pieces first, then roasting them. You can easily do that, but there is something really satisfying about the whole bird.
The chicken is first coated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar before being placed in a 375°F oven for 15 minutes. Then pearl onions, balsamic vinegar, and grapes are added to the pan, where they mix with all the drippings from the meat. When done, about 45 minutes, all the ingredients are removed except for the drippings.
A good glug of port is added, and then the sauce is reduced. The result is naturally sweet and rich, and a perfect match for the meat. This is a truly comforting meal.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- 1 chicken
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup red seedless grapes
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup pearl onions, peeled and halved
- 3 tablespoons port
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 375°. Set the chicken in a large cast-iron skillet. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Set skillet in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Baste the chicken with the juices, and then add the grapes, garlic, and pearl onions. Cook, basting every ten minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked, 30 to 40 minutes. When done, set the chicken, onions, and grapes on a platter and cover with aluminum foil.
Carefully, set the skillet on the stovetop. Using a spoon, remove as much of the oil in the skillet as you can. Turn heat to medium, and pour in the port. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom to dislodge in browned bits. Reduce until the liquid starts to look like a sauce, five to seven minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter.
Cut the chicken in to serving pieces. Serve the chicken pieces with the roasted grapes, pearl onions, and port gravy.