This Chicken with Herb & California Grapes dish features a lovely combination of flavors— savory, herby, and sweet. Perfect for impressing over the holidays!
Great California Grapes!
Grapes are one of my favorite things to snack on because they’re super portable and can satisfy my craving for something sweet, anytime anywhere. I usually bring some to the office for dessert in a little rectangular container. I love that there’s a variety to choose from as well.
California grapes alone has over 80 varieties that come in different shades, shapes, and sizes. Personally, I love that each kind of grape delivers different textures, crunchiness, crispness, and even different levels and profiles of sweetness. These nuances are really interesting to explore and take note of!
Although my family and I love grapes, I’m actually not very knowledgeable about them. Luckily for me, I’ve recently learned from friends over at Grapes from California that there’s actually a lot more to this fruit than meets the eye! I get to share them with you all as well:
- Whether it’s red, green, or black, grapes are a natural source of antioxidants. In fact, this is not only found in the flesh of the grape, but also the skin and the seeds. This means that grapes can be a contributor to a healthy immune system.
- Grapes contain polyphenols that help protect the health of our body’s cells.
- Eating grapes contributes to overall health for the heart because it promotes the relaxation of blood vessels that helps maintain healthy blood circulation.
- In a study conducted at the University of Connecticut, researchers found out that both men and women who consumed over 1 cup of grapes everyday benefited from reduced blood triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels, among other improved health conditions.
- Studies have also shown that grapes may help support brain and colon functions. This is a great fruit to nibble for those who are aiming for natural ways to promote healthy aging!
- Grapes have been found to promote healthy skin by helping to protect against UV damage. In a study by the American Academy of Dermatology, participants were asked to consume 2-1/4 cups of grapes every day for 2 weeks. Researchers found out later that the same participants exhibited increased resistance to sunburn and a reduction in markers of UV damage at a cellular level.
- Grapes are a natural source of potassium (good for heart health) and Vitamin K (good for bone health).
- Grapes deliver energy and hydration (thanks to 82% water content!), making them perfect for active people looking for a good snack to carry around. Even better is that they contain no fat, no cholesterol, and virtually no sodium.
- Grapes are a natural source of melatonin, which is a compound that helps regulate sleep cycles.
- Grapes can fit into any diet as they are gluten free.
- Contrary to popular belief, grapes can also fit into a balanced diabetic diet. They are a low glycemic fruit and do not cause any dramatic increases in blood sugar levels.
- A 3/4 cup serving of grapes contains just 90 calories, making them a smart and healthy snack alternative for those who have weight management goals.
Chicken and California Grapes
You can add some oomph to your grapes in a really simple way. One of our favorite things to do with grapes here at home is to freeze a container of them to use as ice cubes in drinks, or to snack on like candies. Although grapes are enjoyable to eat on their own, they are also pretty awesome when added to dishes and to desserts. And I’m not just talking about salads or cheese boards here.
Sure, grapes add extra health points in salads and smoothies, but because they offer a good balance of sweet and acidic, they also go well with any number of dishes. Whether you’re making something sweet, sour, bitter, salty, spicy, or umami, grapes will add a juicy burst of flavor to any recipe. That’s how versatile they are!
In today’s post, I’m sharing a savory dish that makes such good use of grapes I promise it will be a hit at home. And to prove that grapes go well in many applications, I’ll be posting a wonderful dessert recipe featuring grapes as well in the next couple of days, just as a bonus. You will love all these recipes, especially if you use California grapes to make them!
So let’s focus on today’s recipe, which is Roast Chicken with Herbs & Grapes. I found this on Leite’s Culinaria and did just the slightest amount of tweaking because it’s already great as it is. It looks impressive and fancy, but it’s super-duper easy to make.
For the first step, toss a generous amount of California grapes and onions with salt and pepper, as well as olive oil. I used fresh thyme from my Dad’s garden as the herb component, but this will be amazing with rosemary and oregano as well. This entire tray is popped into a 230°C oven (top and bottom heating on) to roast until the grapes just start to release their juices.
In the meantime, the chicken is patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper, plus paprika. Here is where you can feel free to use spices that you like. I recommend a combination of paprika and cayenne or chili powder to give this a little kick, but you can also use a combo of paprika and garlic powder. Just make sure to evenly season the chicken!
There’s an extra step here that I feel really makes a huge difference in the dish, and that’s searing the chicken on the stovetop first until the skin is deep golden brown. This helps to lock in the juiciness and the moisture of the chicken meat, especially if you’re using breast (You can use any part that you like!). The rest of the magic happens while the chicken is in the oven.
You see, as the chicken releases its natural juices, it mixes together with the juices released by the onions and the grapes. When you serve this, you get to enjoy some truly amazing pan juices with your chicken and your rice! The squeeze of lemon juice at the end adds just the right zing too. Of course, the chicken itself is tender and juicy, with the skin crunching up in the oven. The grapes, while softened, will still give a satisfying pop in the mouth! Overall just a very delightful mix of savory, herby, and sweet, with a hit of smoky. I can totally imagine this on a holiday spread.
Chicken with Herb and Grapes
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 3 cups California grapes , (mixture of red, black, and green recommended)
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme, rosemary, or oregano
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5 kilos chicken , (legs or breast, boneless or bone-in is fine)
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika , (or other mixture of spices)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add grapes, onions, and herb of choice in a single layer on the prepared pan. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then gently toss everything together until coated in oil. Roast in preheated oven until the grapes are just softened and begin to release juices, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pat the chicken pieces dry. Season generously with salt, pepper, and paprika, rubbing the mixture onto both sides of the chicken to ensure even seasoning. (If using a mixture of spices, you may want to mix them in a small bowl first before adding into the chicken to ensure even seasoning.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add half the chicken, skin side down, and cook until deep golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook the underside for 1 to 2 minutes more, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Arrange chicken on the baking sheet skin-side up, placing atop or nestling it among the onions and grapes. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through to an internal temperature of 165° (74°C) and the skin is crispy. The onions and grapes will also be tender and slightly caramelized.
- Drizzle lemon juice all over, then serve inside the pan right away. The pan juices are great spooned over the chicken and some hot rice!
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