The leaves have started to turn their beautiful yellow and reds as autumn settles in for another year. Our unseasonably warm autumn days have been giving way to the cool night air. Having just returned from Montalcino, my mind is still filled with images of grapes being harvested from the vines, the end of what proved to be a rather challenging year for the vineyards.
I was fortunate enough to be visiting friends when a tractor arrived from the fields, overflowing with plump Sangiovese grapes. I watched in awe as they were shoveled into the machine that separates berries from stems and sends them on their way to work their magic into wine. And I was fortunate enough to be visiting another friend who gave me a taste of the young fresh juice straight from the tanks, having just been pressed a day earlier – the first step on their long road to becoming Brunello.
Now back in the US, I occasionally find beautiful black grapes at the local market that are closer to what I find in the market in Montalcino but mostly I can only find the classic red or white varieties that are common here. Lacking the depth of flavor that I find in Italian grapes, I am obsessed with roasting them. A few minutes in a hot oven transforms a simple grape into a juicy, intensely flavored morsel in minutes. They are magical when tucked alongside chicken or served alongside an aged pecorino adding a sweet note to the savory flavors.
You can learn how to roast grapes and a few ideas on what to do with them in our post HERE 🍇
One of my favorite ways to roast grapes is alongside chicken, elevating the humble chicken thigh into a magical meal, elegant enough for company. The crispy-skinned chicken is topped with the rosemary-scented shallot and grape pan sauce warm from the oven. This also works great when roasting a whole chicken.) If you are a blue cheese lover (me!!), you can sprinkle crumbled blue cheese over the pan while still warm from the oven, creating a deliciously creamy savory/sweet combination.
Break open a bottle of earthy red (of course a Brunello or Rosso from Montalcino is my preferred! 💃🏻) and enjoy this simple yet heavenly combination.
Buon autunno a tutti 🍇
xx Michele ♥️Print
These pan-roasted chicken thighs nestled amongst grapes are the perfect way to celebrate fall. This simple and rustic dish comes together in under 30 minutes.
- 4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large shallots, sliced thinly crosswise
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- About 1 pound of seedless grapes, divided into smaller clusters
- About 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary plus a few sprigs for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
2. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season both sides generously with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large oven-safe skillet (such as cast iron) over medium heat. Add the olive oil and warm until shimmering.
4. Add the chicken to the skillet, skin side down. Sear on both sides until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan.
5. Add the shallots and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add in the water and balsamic vinegar. Stir and cook for a minute to combine. Remove from the heat.
6. Add the chicken thighs back to the pan, skin side up. Nestle the grape clusters around the chicken. Sprinkle with the rosemary. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 170-175°F.
7. Remove the pan from the oven and rest for 5 minutes. Serve the chicken and grapes with the sauce drizzled over top and fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish.
VARIATION: Sprinkle about 5 ounces of crumbled blue cheese over the chicken when you remove the pan from the oven. Delicious!