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 lickety-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 recipe; 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.
Excerpted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Copyright © 2012 by Deb Perelman. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available wherever books are sold.
- 3 pounds (1 1/3 kg) chicken parts (thighs, drumsticks, and/or breasts), with skin and bones
- Table salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup (90 grams) seedless grapes
- 1 cup (130 grams) pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with a rack in middle. Pat chicken dry, and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet (use a cast-iron skillet if you’ve got one) over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Working in two batches, brown the chicken, skin side down first and turning them over once, about 5 minutes per batch. I like to take a lot of care in this step, not moving the chicken until the skin releases itself and has a nice bronze on it.
Return the pieces to the pan, skin side up, and surround the pieces with grapes, olives, and shallots. Roast the chicken in the oven until it has just cooked through and the juices run clear, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken, grapes, and olives to a platter, then add wine and chicken broth to the pan juices in skillet. Bring liquid to a boil, scraping up any brown bits, until it has reduced by half, for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain sauce, if desired, then pour it over the chicken. Garnish with rosemary and see how long it takes guests to offer to slurp the sauce up with a spoon.