You almost can’t go wrong with a simple roasted chicken. It is one of the easiest dishes to make and you can serve it as the centerpiece for any meal. This recipe, inspired by my grandmother, is simple twist on a classic roast. Crispy on the outside yet juicy and tender on the inside, the grapes and onions add subtle flavor without going over the top. The grapes, cooked whole, end up sweet as candy and bursting with flavor. They work great as a side, much like cranberry sauce for turkey.
Quick tip: For a tender and juicy chicken, always let your bird to sit at room temperature for an hour before roasting. This allows the meat to cook evenly and fewer juices will leak out or evaporate during cooking. If you put a cold chicken into the oven, the heat will dry the meat on the outside out before the inside is cooked.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
1 small roasting chicken, approx. 4-5 lbs
1 bunch of seedless grapes, washed and removed from stems, approx. 2 1/2″ cups
2 small onions, peeled and cut into 10 wedges each
1 large lemon, cut half into slices and leave half whole
Preheat oven to 450°
- Rinse and pat dry bird.
- Rub inside with Grapeseed Oil, salt and pepper. Place 5 onion wedges in the bottom of the bird cavity. Pack remainder of cavity with whole grapes and add 2 slices of lemon.
- Tie legs together and place stuffed bird on a wire rack in a backing pan.
- Place remaining grapes and onion wedges around the pan. Drizzle chicken, grapes and onions with Grapeseed Oil, making sure to rub oil into the skin of the bird.
- Take the half of lemon and squeeze over bird and and into the cavity. Squeeze any remaining juice over the grapes and onions in pan.
- Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper to taste (be generous with the pepper)
- Cook at 450°F for 25 minutes. Stir grapes and onions in pan and reduce heat to 400°F. Cook for another 50-55 minutes, depending on the size of the bird. When a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the thigh (and not too close to the bone), registers 165°F, take out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Let sit for 15 minutes.
One final note: this recipe does not follow the basic high heat method of cooking rules described here. Extra time and heat are needed because you are packing the bird full of goodies. Always make sure that when you cut into the thigh the juice runs clear (not pink) and the temperature reaches 165°F before removing.