If you follow along with me on this blog, you know I tend to make a lot of chicken. This means I am always on the lookout for some new recipes on ways to make chicken, particularly when it comes to roasting or broiling. I came across this recipe one day while watching the Food Network and saw Michael Chiarello on the Barefoot Contessa preparing this dish. It looked wonderful and I knew I just had to give it a try.
Chicken a la Vendemmia
2 pounds seedless red grapes
4 large bone-in chicken breasts, skin on
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fennel spice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chicken stock
Puree the grapes in a blender then strain them through a sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. You should nave about 2 1/2 cups of juice when you are done.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken on all sides with salt, pepper and fennel spice. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over moderately high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the olive oil. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, and brown well on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the chicken is done throughout, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet. Add the shallot to the skillet and return to moderate heat. Cook until softened, then add the rosemary and cook briefly to release its fragrance, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add 2 cups of the grape juice and simmer briskly until it is reduced by half. Add the chicken stock and any collected juices from the chicken platter and simmer until the mixture has reduced to a creamy, sauce-like consistency. The total volume of the sauce will be a little more than 1 cup.
Cut the chicken breasts in half with a heavy knife or cleaver and return them to the platter. Spoon the sauce over and around them.
During the program, Michael Chiarello also added 3 or 4 quartered fresh figs to the sauce after adding the grape juice and chicken broth just to warm them through for serving. I didn’t have any figs on hand, so I skipped this step. I have to say I loved the grape sauce that was made. It was wonderfully creamy and had a great taste to it with the chicken. I served the dish with white rice and the sauce added great flavor to the rice as well.I did cook the chicken for 2 or 3 minutes longer to really crisp up the skin and it was still nice and juicy, so cook the chicken to your liking and simply check the temperature with a thermometer.
I also served the chicken with some fresh green beans I had picked up at the farmer’s market. I wanted to be able to cook everything in the oven at once, so I found this recipe from Williams-Sonoma for roasting the green beans with carrots and onions.
Roasted Green Beans and Carrots with Red Onion
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally, about 1/4- inch thick
1 red onion, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an 8 x 11 heavy roasting pan or a very large, ovenproof fry pan on the rack in the oven to heat.
Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add a pinch of salt and the green beans. Cook the beans until they turn bright green and are just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. The timing will depend on the age and size of the beans. Drain the beans and plunge them into a bowl of ice-cold water to stop the cooking and drain them again.
In a large bowl, toss together the beans, carrots, onion, garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle with the cumin, season with salt and pepper, and toss again to thoroughly combine. Transfer the vegetables to the preheated pan and spread them evenly. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, 45 to 55 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
I actually cooked the vegetables for less time since I had them in the 400 degree oven with the chicken. They were actually done in about 25 to 30 minutes instead, which gave me enough time to make the sauce and the chicken to rest. I love roasted vegetables; the roasting really brings out the flavors of the vegetables and the mix of green beans, carrots and onion is great with just a touch of cumin added for heat and flavor.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes of things I have tried recently. We have some events the next few days, so I won’t be doing much cooking, but I do have some things I have done recently or plan to do in the coming days, so check back and see what comes up. until then, enjoy the rest of your day, have a happy and safe 4th of July and enjoy your meal!