By: Claudia Laffin, from The Traveling Spoon Personal Chef

Grapes are back in season, which means plump, juicy grapes and great deals. I find myself buying organic fruit in large quantities, especially when it’s on sale. And grapes are so good for you! Red and purple grapes get their deep coloring from flavanoids, which are a wonderful source of antioxidants and can help prevent blood clots and strengthen our tissues. Grapes also contain Vitamin C, thiamin, Vitamin B6, copper, potassium and manganese. What’s not to love about this perfectly bite-sized fruit?

But grapes can be much more than the perfect snack. They can be integrated into a sophisticated dinner that’s easy enough to pull together on a weeknight, but also gorgeous enough to impress guests. This recipe uses chicken thighs, shallots, and lemons to pair with the red grapes in a creamy red wine sauce. Many people opt for the delicate white meat of a chicken breast, but chicken thighs provide a flavor and juiciness that cannot be beat. (Not to mention, healthy fats are back in so there’s one more reason to embrace dark meat.)

This is a one pot recipe that starts on the stove top and finishes in the oven – so easy clean up! I use my cast iron skillet, but any oven safe dish will work. And besides an easy clean up, this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo, too! You can pair with a leafy green salad and mashed potatoes to soak up all of that fantastic sauce.

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Grapes and Shallots
Serves

Ingredients
– 1 tablespoon ghee or other cooking oil
– 8 skin-on chicken thighs, bones removed (freeze those bones for bone broth on another day)
– 2 teaspoons salt, divided
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
– 4 shallots
– 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
– 1/2 cup chicken broth
– 3/4 cup red wine (I used organic Cotes Du Rhone)
– 2 cups red or purple organic grapes
– 1/2 lemon, sliced into rounds and quartered

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Mix the oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper in a small bowl.
3. In another bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the arrowroot powder
4. Heat the ghee in a large cast iron skillet or other oven proof skillet over medium high heat.
5. Rinse the thighs under cold water and dry them well with a paper towel.
6. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt evenly over the skin of the chicken and place them skin side down in the hot skillet.
7. Now put the spice mixture over the bottoms of the chicken thighs. (Use a splatter screen because it will sizzle!) You may have to do this in 2 steps with 4 thighs at a time if you skillet isn’t big enough.
8. Flip the thighs once they release freely from the pan and have a nice brown sear on the skin. Then cook the chicken skin side up for about 1 more minute. Remove the thighs from the pan and set aside on a plate.
9. Turn the heat down and add the shallots to the drippings in the pan and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down a bit more to cool the pan and then add the wine. Cook for about 5 minutes.
10. Whisk the broth mixture again, and add it to the wine. Add the last teaspoon of salt and simmer until slightly thickened.
11. Add the chicken back to the pan, skin side up, along with the juices from the plate. Then add half of the grapes (1 cup) and the lemon slices. Bake for 20 minutes.
12. Remove from the oven and add the rest of the grapes, baste the chicken with the sauce and bake an additional 5 minutes.
13. Serve and enjoy!

 

(Note: this meal would also be great in the fall, substituting turkey for chicken and cranberries for the grapes. I’ve also made it Mediterranean style with artichoke hearts, olives and capers instead of grapes and omitted the wine.)

 


Headshot_ClaudiaLaffinClaudia Laffin is a food photographer and owner of The Traveling Spoon Personal Chef, serving clients in and around Asheville, North Carolina. She has been a health food advocate and natural lifestyle follower for over 20 years. During that time she enjoyed working in numerous stores in the health food industry, including Earth Fare! Claudia’s desire to bring health food to more people motivated her to start her personal chef business. She loves cooking healthy, organic, non processed and delicious food for busy families in their own homes and helping them find a path to a healthier life. Follow her Instagram account to see what new things she’s cooking up!