Roasted grapes are the best thing to happen to fall!
Roasted grapes are one of falls best-kept secrets. Don't get me wrong, I love that bright, tart, fresh grape flavor. But when they are roasted, it opens up a whole new world... this warm, sweet, complex side of the fruit without that harsh tartness.
With this recipe, you'll slather a honey-herb butter under the chicken skin. The chicken gets stuffed with an apple and then cooked in the oven on top of a bed of grapes.
Between the honey in the herb-butter, the apple, and the grapes, a sticky, fruity sugar drips into the bottom of the pan. Those sweetened pan drippings turn into the most incredible pecan gravy.
As for the roasted grapes - I put them on everything...
I usually make these sweet potatoes with this chicken, that I top with the roasted grapes and then drizzle (ok... drench) in honey. If I still have grapes leftover, I use them in chicken salad or on this steak-farro salad (that cooks up in no time!)
To keep things interesting, I buy several varieties of grapes. Between red, green, and dark purple grapes, the flavors are all noticeably different. That adds a nice complexity to the dinner - each bite might have a different grape.
Even though they come in those sort-of pre-packaged bags, they are likely sold by the pound. If they are, you can take a bunch or two out, and only purchase a small amount (not a whole bag). That allows you to buy 3 different varieties without drowning in grapes. I like to go with 6 large bunches.
More about the recipe
The recipe looks long. It is not very fussy, promise. I wanted to make it very detailed, so it is easy to follow and not leave you wondering about a certain step. I try not to assume you already know how to roast a chicken like this.
Below the recipe I have several tips for you.
HERB HONEY BUTTER
- 2 sprigs rosemary finely chopped
- 2 sprigs sage finely chopped
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 Tbsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 3 Tbsp butter softened
- 2 Tbsp pecans finely chopped
CHICKEN & GRAPES
- 1 3-4 lb chicken air chilled
- 1 apple quartered
- 3 lb grapes see note
- 2 Tbsp pan drippings from chicken
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 Tbsp pecans chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth or drippings
PREHEAT OVEN & OTHER PREP
- Preheat your oven to 400.In an oven-safe skillet, place the grapes all along the bottom (leave stems on).Finely chop the herbs. Chop 4 Tbsp of pecans (half will be stuffed into the chicken with the herb honey butter, and half will be reserved for the gravy).
HERB HONEY BUTTER
- Mix together all of the ingredients, reserving a couple pinches of salt (soft butter makes this easy).
- Set aside several pinches of salt and pepper in a side dish (so you can grab it when your hands are covered in chicken guts).
PREP & STUFF THE CHICKEN
- DIRTY HANDS! Grab a bunch of paper towels and set them aside. Open your compost or garbage. You about about to dive into chicken gut territory and I am trying to save you from washing your hands 5 times during this process.Make sure your herb honey butter, apple quarters, and the salt+pepper you set aside are accessible and won't be contaminating anything else with your chicken-hands. If you are using a leave-in thermometer, get that ready too.
- CLEAN & DRY CHICKEN: Remove any giblets or bags of guts from the chicken. Discard or save for another use.Dry the breast-side of the chicken with a paper towel - this helps get a crispy skin.
- SPREAD HERB HONEY BUTTER: Take half of the butter mixture and spread it under the skin of one breast of the chicken and into the leg if you can reach it. Repeat with the other half of the chicken.
- STUFF & DRY CHICKEN: Stuff the apple quarters into the chicken cavity. Then dry the chicken breast skin one more time. Get that good & dry!
- SALT THE SKIN: Grab the bowl with reserved salt & pepper and sprinkle it on top of the skin.
- Place the chicken on top of the grapes, breast side up. If you are using a leave-in thermometer, place that in now.Now you can wash your hands!
COOK THE CHICKEN
- Cook the chicken in the 400-degree oven until it reaches about 140 degrees with a thermometer. THEN turn off the oven and let the chicken finish cooking until it reaches 160-165. This method lets the chicken finish cooking a little more slowly, reducing the risk of over-cooking and drying out.
MAKE THE GRAVY
- After the chicken is done cooking, remove the pan from the oven. Set the chicken aside to cool. Put the grapes in a bowl.
- Remove all but 2 Tbsp of fatty pan drippings. Put the pan (that the chicken roasted in), on a burner over medium heat. Add in 2 Tbsp of flour and whisk to incorporate with the fat.
- Continue to whisk and cook until the flour smells cooked (a little toasted smell).
- Then add in the chicken broth (or not-super-fatty drippings), about ¼ cup at a time. Whisk until fully incorporated. Do not pour it all in at once - this makes it much more likely to get a clumpy gravy.
- Once the gravy is the desired consistency, add in the pecans and cook for a few minutes.
- Slice up the chicken and serve with grapes and gravy.
Need help on how to make gravy?
This video shows the method I use and it works well every time.
Want to know how to under-butter chicken?
I think that is actually a real term! Anyway, this is a super short video showing how to spread butter under a Turkey skin, but it's the same for chicken.
Or where to place the thermometer?
I like to cover all the details for you!
- Choosing grapes: To find the freshest grapes, shake the bunch - the grapes should be firmly attached to the stem and not fall off. Also, the greener the stem, the fresher they are (or at least, the better they were stored). Get more seasonal tips for grapes (including more regular and roasted grape recipes)
- For more information on this 'different' chicken cooking method, head over to my "Always Juicy Herb-Roast chicken" recipe to get the full scoop.
- Thermometer - if using a leave-in thermometer, place it parallel to the breast bone, about half way out.
- On dirtied chicken hands: I don't know about you, but I always seem to wash my hands 4-5 times when handling raw chicken. And that happened so often because I didn't have everything prepared for the chicken-handling step. The instructions in the recipe cover the 'right' way to do it, so you only have to wash your hands once, and waste a lot less time (and water).