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Roast Chicken with Grapes

image

I've been roasting chicken this way for over 20 years. The grapes not only absorb the juices and flavor of the chicken, the chicken absorbs the sweet juice of the grapes, making this a succulent way of preparing roast chicken. Note the way that the chicken is cooked breast down . This helps the breast stay moist.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 roasting chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 onion, cut into eight wedges
  • 1 large bunch of seedless grapes
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, and or tarragon
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • Olive oil

METHOD

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 Rub inside of chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle insides with salt and pepper. Remove about a cup's worth of grapes from their vines and cut in half. Insert grapes into cavity. Add a few onion wedges into the cavity, along with a few sprigs of fresh herbs. You do not need to remove the rosemary from the stalk. Add a half of the lemon slices to the cavity. If you still have more space in the cavity, add more grapes.

3 Rub olive oil over the outside of the chicken. Line the bottom of a roasting casserole dish with onion slices and lemon slices. Place the chicken in the roasting pan, on top of the lemon wedges and onion, breast side down. (Or you could use a roasting rack. Using a roasting rack will ensure that the entire chicken is roasted. If you place the chicken directly in the pan, the breast meat may braise in the juices, which is also quite good, but different from roasting.)

Sprinkle outside of chicken with salt and pepper. Place sprigs of herbs and slices of lemon between the wings and the body of the chicken. Arrange any remaining grapes, lemon slices, and herbs around the sides of the chicken.

4 Roast at 350 degrees F in the oven for about 20 minutes per pound. Baste with the juices from the chicken and the white wine several times during the cooking. The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh.

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