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Roast Chicken with Grapes

Whole roast chicken, stuffed with grapes and seasoned with rosemary, thyme, onions, and lemon.

Roast Chicken with Grapes
Elise Bauer

One of the first things I ever learned to cook on my own (post college quesadillas) was roast chicken.

Roast chicken is actually crazy easy, given that all you really need to do is to just salt the chicken, put it in a pan and put it in a hot oven for an hour or so.

My brilliant inspiration, or at least I thought so at the time, and I still think it produces a terrific result, was to chop up some seedless grapes and use them to stuff the chicken.

Roast Chicken with Grapes
Elise Bauer

The juice from the grapes bastes the chicken on the inside. The addition of onions, lemon, and rosemary provide aromatics for the chicken.

When it's done, the cooked grapes, along with the onions and lemon act almost like chutney, when eaten with the chicken.

Roast Chicken with Grapes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 75 mins
Total Time 90 mins
Servings 4 to 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds
  • 1 lemon, cut into thin wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut into eight wedges
  • 1 large bunch of seedless grapes (about 3 cups total)
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, and/or tarragon
  • 2 cups of white wine (can substitute chicken stock)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Let chicken sit at room temperature

    (70°F) for at least an hour so it comes close to room temp before roasting.

  2. Stuff chicken with cut grapes, onions, herbs, lemon

    Preheat oven to 450°F. Pat the chicken dry. Rub inside and outside of chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle inside and outside with salt and pepper.

    Remove about a cup's worth of grapes from their stems and cut in half. Insert grapes into cavity.

    Add a couple onion wedges into the cavity, along with a few sprigs of fresh herbs. You do not need to remove the rosemary from its stem. Add a couple lemon wedges to the cavity.

    stuff whole raw chicken with grapes lemon herbs
    Elise Bauer
  3. Arrange chicken in roasting pan, surrounded with herbs, onions, lemon wedges

    Line the bottom of a roasting pan with onion slices and lemon wedges. Place the chicken on a roasting rack in the roasting pan, on top of the lemon wedges and onion, breast side down.

    (Alternatively you can place the chicken directly in the pan, resting on the onions, in which case the breast meat will braise in the juices, instead of roasting.)

    Place sprigs of herbs and slices of lemon between the wings and the body of the chicken. Arrange any remaining grapes, lemon wedges, and herbs in the pan.

    arrange grape stuffed chicken on roasting pan
    Elise Bauer
  4. Roast and baste the chicken

    Roast at 450°F for 25 minutes. Then baste with a cup of the wine and reduce the heat to 400°F. Cook for 30 minutes more and baste again with the 2nd cup of wine.

    Cook for another 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken) until the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into the chicken thigh, or when the temperature reading of a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the breast or thigh, reads 160°F.

    roast chicken with grapes in roasting pan
    Elise Bauer
  5. Rest the chicken

    Remove the roast from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken will continue to rise.

  6. Carve the chicken

    Turn the chicken so that it is breast side up on a carving board. First separate the legs (drumstick and thigh) from the body. Then cut away the wings.

    carve legs and thighs away from roast chicken with grapes
    Elise Bauer
    carve wings away from roast chicken with grapes
    Elise Bauer

    Make a cut down the breast bone. Continue to cut down on one side of the breast bone, cutting the breast away from the carcass, following the curvature of the rib cage as you cut. Repeat on the other side.

    cut roast chicken down breast bone for chicken with grapes
    Elise Bauer
    pull chicken breast away from breast bone
    Elise Bauer

    Slice the breasts crosswise to serve. Arrange the pieces on a platter, surrounded by grapes and caramelized onions from the roasting pan. Spoon pan sauce over the chicken pieces, and serve.

    cut chicken breast crosswise to serve with grapes
    Elise Bauer
  7. Serve

    Serve with rice or egg noodles.