Roasted Chicken Thighs with Olives, Tomatoes, and Grapes

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Today’s recipe comes from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, whose cookbook may be the greatest gift of 2012 to home cooks everywhere. Deb has a fantastic blog, and when I saw that she was releasing The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I preordered copies for my sister’s and my good friend Caroline’s Christmas presents. I was lucky enough that my friend Sam (from Blogging with My Mouth Full) was generous enough to gift me the same.

My high school friends and I had a potluck this past weekend, and, as the hostess, I contributed the main dish and a side dish–both of which came from this book. I’ll post the side dish later this week, but it was the main dish that completely blew my mind. First of all, it was easy to make. Easy to assemble, easy to double for a large crowd, easy to do other things like clean your apartment while the chicken bakes. A win for any dinner party.

Second, it was flavor intense. I was both intrigued and wary when I saw that the original recipe featured a combination of grapes and olives. Salt is probably the seasoning that I struggle the most with (isn’t that pathetic?) because everything that I think is too salty, most others find to be not salty enough. What can I say? I’m broken. Leave me alone. As a result, I kind of sort of hate olives. I really want to like them. I try them whenever they are presented to me at Italian restaurants, but I pick them off pizza and never buy them myself. I was also worried that the grapes would be too sweet. Combining the two? Pure genius. The flavors balance each other so well, and the resulting sauce was too perfect for words.

I hope that you give this recipe a try. It might seem a little adventurous but the result is oh-so-worth the risk. Happy eating!

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Olives, Tomatoes, and Grapes
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. Note: the original recipe serves four and calls for 3 lbs of chicken. The recipe I am posting below serves 8-10. I also threw in 1 cup of tomatoes instead of upping the amount of olives and grapes because I was paranoid that the sauce would be too salty/sweet otherwise. This was probably unnecessary, but I really like roasted tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • Roughly 6 lbs of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (10 thighs total), trimmed of excess fat
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 4 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine + 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh rosemary

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • In a large, heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Working in batches, brown the chicken, skin side down first. Like Deb, I like to take my time with this step and don’t turn the chicken until it releases itself from the skillet. This can take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes. Turn over once, cook for an additional 2 minutes. Since we’re cooking for a crowd, transfer the chicken to a large roasting pan.
  • Once you’ve browned all the chicken, deglaze the pan with the 2 tablespoons of white wine. Pour the wine/fond mixture over the chicken in the roasting pan.
  • Surround the pieces of chicken with the grapes, olives, tomatoes, and shallots. Bake for about 20 minutes. The chicken should register 165 degrees, and the juices should be clear. Transfer the chicken, olives, tomatoes, grapes, and shallots to a serving platter.
  • Place the roasting pan on your range over medium heat. Add the wine and broth. Stir, while scraping up any brown bits. Add the rosemary and boil until the sauce has reduced by half–about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove the rosemary springs from the sauce (I left a few leaves in). Serve on the side or over the chicken. I prefer to serve it on the side so that people can have as much as they want.

Serves 8 to 10.

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