Vineyard Chicken

Here’s me being a scintillating tart again, adding spark to my two decades plus marriage by adding fruit to our roast dinners. I love apples with pork and chook dishes, but getting grapes in there is something superior, especially at this time of year when the weather is cooling and flavours become more sunburnt, robust and wholesome. This dish is a doddle to make. Lay most on a baking tray and the chook in a pan, leave it to do its thing then whack it all together just before serving. Easy.

10–12 small gourmet potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
10 baby carrots
3–4 shallots, skin on, cut in half lengthwise
1 garlic bulb top cut off horizontally, reserving the tip bits
6–8 chicken thigh cutlets, skin on
a dusting of plain flour
a decent knob of butter
300mls wine  (I used rosé but any drinkable white wine is fine)
a drizzle of runny honey
5–6 small bunches black grapes
olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
fresh herbs to serve (I used chervil, but parsley works well too)
crusty bread to serve

Preheat oven to 190°C and on a lined baking tray lay out the potatoes, baby carrots, and shallots cut side down. Add the cut bulb of garlic cut side up, reserving the tips. Drizzle olive oil across the lot and season with salt and pepper. Bake for around 20–30 minutes until softened and golden.

Season and dust the chicken cutlets with flour. Heat the butter and a lug of oil in a large heavy bottomed oven proof pan over medium heat. Fry the chicken portions skin side down until golden.

Flip over, fry a little more then toss in the garlic tops, the wine and a drizzle of honey. Turn down the temp slightly, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover, add the grapes and continue to cook with the lid off, reducing the liquid, for another 15 minutes.

Tuck in all the cooked veggies to the pan, drizzle the lot in balsamic vinegar and give it 10 minutes in the oven for everyone to get to know each other.

Season and sprinkle with fresh herbs and eat with crusty bread to squish the garlic into and a fat leafy salad on the side.

Recipe and Images Fiona Hugues

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