A few weeks ago, I was at the Chequamegon Co-op and saw a package of Champagne grapes in the produce section — I placed them in my basket, not knowing what I’d do with them when I got home. They seemed too special to just eat raw or throw into a chicken salad, they are Champagne grapes after all, but I was at a loss for ideas….until I remembered David Lebovitz’s blog post about roasting grapes and chicken. Thankfully it’s cooled down and turning on the oven is back to being a reasonable option, as opposed to an insane idea that results in turning our 100-plus year old home into a sauna, so I got started recreating his Parisian recipe in my northern Wisconsin kitchen. This is a solid recipe — pretty easy to put together and definitely well-suited to the fall evenings we have in front of us!
Braised Chicken with Champagne Grapes
1 whole chicken, spatchcocked (instructions here)
1/2 cup thick-cut bacon, diced
1 small onion, chopped
8 - 10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
Handful of fresh thyme sprigs
Three or four small bunches of red grapes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spatchcock (instructions here) the chicken, season it with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or roasting pan with a lid. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the pan and sear until its golden brown, about 5 - 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and sear for another 5 - 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Sauté the bacon until it’s mostly cooked and then add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onions are softened and translucent, add the garlic cloves, stir to incorporate, and cook for another two minutes.
Add the wine, chicken broth, and vinegar to the Dutch oven or roasting pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the chicken, skin side up, and the thyme sprigs. Cover and place in oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and tuck the grape bunches alongside the chicken. Place back in oven, uncovered, and cook for another 30 - 45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and the sauce is thickened.