Seasonal cooking can refer to working with ingredients that are in season. It can also refer to using seasonal cooking methods. This week’s recipe is a mix of both. Temperatures recently took on an autumn coolness here, encouraging me to turn on the oven and roast something for the first time in a while. For the seasonal ingredient, I chose grapes.
Yes, grapes. Thanks to the increasingly global reach of grocery stores, you can find them pretty much year-round. But North American grapes are at their peak in early fall, sweet, beautiful and abundant.
For this dish, I chose red seedless grapes — they were beautiful and available. Black grapes would work well too, as would green grapes. The grapes are roasted in chicken fat along with mushrooms, shallots, and rosemary. The result is sweet, earthy, and savory, a perfect accompaniment to the roasted chicken thighs and drumsticks. And a delicious way to celebrate the changing seasons.
I started the chicken on the stovetop in a sauté pan, ensuring a nice golden brown on the skin and rendering fat to use with the grape mixture. And I roasted said mixture separately in a glass baking dish rather than adding them to the chicken pan; this allowed me to control the amount of fat they roasted in.
Roasted Chicken with Grapes, Mushrooms and Shallots
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 each bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks and thighs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, divided
12 ounces sliced mushrooms (see Kitchen Notes)
12 ounces seedless grapes — red, black or green
2 good-sized shallots, thickly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat olive oil in a skillet or sauté pan large enough to hold chicken in a single layer over medium-high flame. Season chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper and place skin side down in the pan. Cook undisturbed until chicken skin is golden brown and slightly crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Transfer chicken to a plate. Pour chicken drippings in pan into a heat-resistant bowl or measuring cup and reserve. Return chicken to pan, skin side up, sprinkle with half the rosemary and put pan in oven.
3. In a 9×13-inch glass baking dish, toss mushrooms with 2 to 3 tablespoons of chicken drippings and the rest of the rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and put in the oven.
4. After 10 minutes, add grapes and shallots to the baking dish, drizzling with additional chicken drippings if the mushrooms have soaked up what was in the dish. Toss to combine and roast an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. A quick-read thermometer should register 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. The grapes may or may not split open as they roast. Either outcome is fine.
5. Plate chicken on individual plates, spooning grape mixture alongside. Serve.
Mushrooms — how many, what kind? White or crimini mushrooms are both fine for this dish. When I made it, I used just 8 ounces of mushrooms because that’s how they were packaged. We all wanted more mushrooms, so spring for the extra 4 ounces. You’ll be glad you did.
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