For years I never understood why Ina Garten was constantly talking about her husband’s love for roast chicken. It’s just chicken. How can someone be so in love with chicken?
Then I started toying around with the different ways to roast chicken. I’ve become a big fan of brining, like this Bourbon Brined Roast Chicken, or searing the chicken first to crisp up the skin and then finish roasting in the oven – which I did here.
I recently starting cooking chicken until it was done. My mother (love ya Mom!) cooks her chicken for HOURS. Itty bitty chicken legs…she’ll put those in for 2½ hours on 350! “Done” is an understatement.
My point is you want and need the chicken to be done. You don’t want it slapping back at you when you try to pull it off the bone, but don’t need to dry it out. There is a happy medium.
This chicken was some of the most beautiful chicken I have made/eaten. So simple. Crispy seasoned skin, juicy, juicy chicken, and these wonderful roasted grapes with hints of the thyme. The wild rice is seasoned with sautéed shallots, maple pecans and lemon juice for a lift.
Such basic flavors yet so delicious.
Roasted grapes are quite fantastic, by the way. Served alongside this simple roasted chicken, the grapes were what put the “wow” factor into this meal.
I recommend trying roasted grapes other ways like throwing them on pizza or crostini or in a salad.
Oh, and how about a green salad for your lunch using the leftover chicken (if there is any), grapes, pecans and maybe some goat cheese?
So now I get it. I get why Jeffrey Garten (the Barfoot Contessa’s other half) is never disappointed with roast chicken. It can be one of the simplest, yet most satisfying meals. Paired with a few seasonal ingredients, one cannot ask for much else.
- Prep: 10 mins
- Cook: 1 hr
- Total: 1 hr 10 mins
- Yields: 4 servings
- 4 large, bone-in chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- 1½ pounds concord or table grapes (seedless) on the stems
- 3 cups cooked wild rice
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 3 shallots, quartered
- 1 tablespoons maple syrup
- Juice of a lemon
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the grapes and shallots on a large parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with thyme. Sear the chicken, starting skin side down for about 6-7 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crispy. Turn the chicken over and sear the opposite side for about 5 minutes. You may want to sear the chicken in two batches or use two pans in order to not overcrowd the meat.
Place the chicken into a baking pan skin side up. Place the chicken on the top rack of the oven and the grapes and shallots on the bottom rack. Roast for about 35 minutes. Remove the grapes from the oven sooner if they start to blister and split open. You want them to retain their shape.
Allow the chicken to rest about 10 minutes when it is finished baking.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine the maple syrup and pecans over low heat. Heat until the pecans are just toasted and coated in the syrup.
Toss the wild rice with the roasted shallots, pecans, lemon juice and a tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
If desired, cut the chicken off of the bone and slice. Serve the roasted chicken with the wild rice and roasted grapes.