Friday, December 7, 2012

Baked Chicken with Grapes

My roasted chicken entree is simply delicious -- both savory and sweet. For a single serving you only need a handful of grapes, so along with inexpensive chicken, this is one chintzy meal.

I roasted a chicken leg and thigh. The sweet grapes cooked beautifully and flavored the chicken juices. I also added half an airline bottle of white wine for extra flavor. Any fruit juice, like orange or apple, is a tasty alcohol substitution - also, okay to go with broth or plain water.

This entree has all the hallmarks for heavy rotation in this chintzy kitchen -- it's delish and so quick and easy to do: just season the bird, add liquid and grapes, then bake it. I even used grapes past their prime, some were soggy or had blemishes, kind of like using a brown banana in oatmeal, they may not look perfect but still taste sweet.

I always find chicken for way less than a dollar per pound, and while grapes cost more than chicken, you only need a dozen grapes for this recipe.

This is a budget entree I'll be baking often, now that it's cold enough to comfortably use the oven again. Make sure to double my recipe, because serving anything sweet for dinner will have the kids coming back for seconds!

Ingredients ( one serving)
  • 1 chicken leg quarter - okay to use any chicken pieces you like or find on sale.
  • 8 - 12 grapes - any type of grape, red or white. I cooked with seedless red grapes. You can add or subtract the amount of grapes to suit your taste.
  • 1/4 cup of white or red wine - I used white wine. Okay to use a favorite broth, apple or orange juice, or just add water.
  • Herbs - optional. I have a herb garden, so I used a mix of basil, oregano, parsley and sage. You can also use a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) of a favorite cheap dried herb, or mix of herbs like an Italian Mix.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a roasting pan just big enough to hold the chicken, salt and pepper it. Sprinkle on the grapes.

Add wine (broth or water) and herbs. A little bit of liquid helps steam the grapes. It will cook away but will be replaced by chicken juices. If you are cooking breast meat then you may want a 1/2 cup of liquid to help keep the breast from drying out.

Roast chicken uncovered, until done, about 45 minutes to an hour. Depending how large the chicken pieces are, especially breast meat, you will want to check for doneness. Just pierce or slice into the thickest part of chicken with a knife. Juices will run clear when cooked through.

This recipe is easy to double or triple. You can cut up a whole chicken and add the pieces to a large roasting pan. Just add a cup of liquid and plenty of grapes.

You can even bake a whole chicken your favorite way, just add a bunch of grapes all around the chicken and in the cavity. Make sure the grapes come in contact with chicken juices some time during baking. Use your fav chicken recipe. I usually bake whole chicken about 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Again, check for doneness by slicing into thigh meat where it connects to the bird and seeing if the juices run clear (or that there is no raw redness in the cut.) I cover the breast with foil the first hour, to keep it from drying out.

You can use any type of wine. Tasty substitutions are a favorite broth, apple or orange juice.

You can also just braise the chicken and grapes on the stove top if you like. Brown the chicken first for a few minutes, then add liquid and grapes. Will take about same amount of time, over a low/medium heat.

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