If you’re looking for an elegant yet casual dinner party main dish that won’t break the bank, you’ve found it. Chicken thighs are one of my go-to proteins for feeding large groups of people, and they work beautifully here. I love cooking fruit with chicken, and the sauce you get from coupling sweet grapes with briny olives and a hint of rosemary is downright addictive. Try it once, and you’ll be making it again just for the sauce.
Deb Perelman’s Harvest Chicken with Grapes, Olives, and Rosemary
Special Equipment: a 12″ cast iron skillet or other oven-proof skillet
2 1/2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken parts (I generally use a pack of thighs here since I’m normally cooking this on when I need something low-maintenance and fairly quick, but you can cut up a whole chicken or use drumsticks, too).
Freshly ground black peppercorns (omit if AIP)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 – 1 1/2 cup seedless grapes
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white vermouth (the recipe originally calls for dry white wine; it’s good either way, but my preference is white or dry vermouth)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
Cooked white rice, for serving
1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with a rack in middle. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet (cast iron is best here) over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Working in two to three batches, place the chicken skin side down into the oil and brown the chicken deeply, then flip and repeat on the other side. Make sure to do this in batches small enough so that the chicken isn’t crowded in the pan- otherwise, you’ll end up steaming the chicken instead of browning it.
2. Place all of the chicken back into the skillet and tuck the grapes, olives, and shallots between the pieces of chicken. Remove the skillet to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through, then move the chicken, grapes, and olives to a platter. Place the skillet full of pan drippings over high heat with the vermouth and stock and boil until the liquid has reduced by half. During the last minute or so of boiling, add half of the rosemary to the skillet.
3. Pour the juices over the chicken and garnish with the remaining rosemary. Serve immediately over white rice.
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