by Laurie Vengoechea | @photogbylmvengoechea
This has to be one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken, with fresh fruits and aromatics straight from the garden, plucked, cleaned and thrown into the pot!
It's harvest season here in the vineyards of Temecula, the fields look beautiful with rows of grapes hanging from the vines and rose blooms perched at the end of each row. It looks spectacular! There are so many grape varieties, from Pinot to Champaign.. they all lend themselves not only to a remarkable glass of wine but enhance many a country meal on my table.
This recipe has been in my collection for over 30 years from a handed down French cookbook that has now become tattered and well worn with how often I flip through its pages. This adapted dish seems so appropriate for the season and the location I call home, here in the beautiful agricultural community of the Temecula Valley.
This dish is made with simple ingredients of chicken, dark red grapes, walnuts, shallots and fresh rosemary, with the addition of a sherry cream sauce made by de-glazing the pan at the end of the cooking process. The aroma is beautiful, just like a freshly opened bottle of a wine tickling your nose with it's bouquet of spice and citrus with woodsy undertones.. you'll be tantalized with the fragrance of grapes stewing in sherry wine and rosemary.
For an adaptation to veganizing this recipe, there are some beautiful large squashes that I have used in place of the meat. You can also use coconut butter and coconut cream to replace the dairy. :)
I hope you enjoy my vineyard country style chicken!
3-4 lb. Roasting chicken cut in halve, or Pheasant
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Red Pepper flakes
1 cup chicken stock
5-6 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary
2 large Shallot thinly sliced
*1-1/4 cups seedless dark red or black grapes
1/4 cup walnut halves
4 tbsp. butter
White wine or Sherry
1. Prepare your bird by cutting it in half so it lays flat. Season chicken or pheasant all over with salt and pepper.
2. In large dutch oven or skillet, brown chicken on both sides in a few tablespoons of olive oil.
3. Pour chicken stock on bottom of pot. Add ½ cup sherry, *1 cup grapes, 4 sprigs of rosemary, shallots and walnuts. Dab with a few teaspoons of butter. Cover and cook on low heat for approximately 30-45 minutes, till chicken is cooked through. (cooking time depends on size of bird)
4. Remove chicken to a serving platter. Pour remaining liquid through a fine mesh sieve and set aside. There will be approximately 1-½ cups liquid.
5. In the pot used to cook chicken, add 2 Tbs. of butter gently removing trimmings from bottom of pot. Add reserved liquid that you previously strained. Add ¼ cup of cream and the reserved 1/4 cup of grapes. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt if needed. Let simmer for 7 more minutes till grapes soften up a bit. Taste, if needed add a bit more sherry. Pour sauce over chicken. Dress with remaining rosemary.