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Braised Chicken with Gewürztraminer and Grapes

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Serves 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 101

The honey-floral fragrance of Muscat grapes makes them particularly well-suited for this braise, where they echo the floral notes of Gewürztraminer wine.

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 12 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed (about 3-1/2 lb. total)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups red or green seedless grapes or Muscat grapes
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • One 750-ml bottle medium-dry Gewürztraminer
  • 2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a 7- to 8-quart enameled Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken generously with salt. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, sear the chicken, turning once, until golden-brown, 10 to 12 minutes per batch. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl.

When all the chicken is browned, pour off all but 2 Tbs. of fat. Add the grapes and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the grapes to a small bowl. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and a pinch of salt to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and simmer, stirring up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the wine reduces by almost half, about 5 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan, along with any accumulated juices. Add the broth and sprinkle with thyme. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook until the chicken is very tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.

Raise the heat to medium high and boil the liquid until reduced to about 2-1/2 cups, about 12 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the cornstarch, then whisk the cream mixture into the sauce. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the pan. Simmer gently over medium-low heat until the chicken is heated through. Stir in the reserved grapes. The chicken skin will be soft—remove it prior to serving, if desired.

Make Ahead Tips

This dish can be prepared 2 days ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate the chicken and grapes separately.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with brown rice or egg noodles and steamed green beans.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 560; Fat (g): fat g 29; Fat Calories (kcal): 260; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 10; Protein (g): protein g 34; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 18; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 430; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 145; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I gave it 5 stars because it was so much better than I expected. I made it twice and it did need a few minor changes though for my taste. I felt the onions cooked too quickly and were a bit "crunchy"so the second time I allowed a lot longer for the pot to cool down more before adding the onions. I also added an extra clove of garlic and was generous with the thyme, a spice I love. My grapes were not in season and were pointless to the dish. Just mushy with no flavor. Unless you have fantastic tasting grapes substitute dried tart cherries shortly before serving. (just enough to warm through). It added a burst of sweetness and texture. As others mentioned, it's not a hard recipe but very time consuming. Make sure you have other things to do around the kitchen or cook another meal at the same time. Make a day ahead! It's worth the wait. Good the same day but fantastic the 2nd!

Absolutely delicious! The chicken was very tender, and the sauce was divine. The grapes added just the right touch of sweetness. I used a not very sweet Gewurztraminer which I think is key. Added an extra clove of garlic and a touch more of thyme and Better Than Bouillon to make the chicken stock. I made the rice and green beans while simmering the chicken. Took some time but allowed everything to be ready together and allowed time to chat and have a glass (or two) of wine with friends. Made for a Sunday Dinner and it was a hugh hit with my husband and friends. Will definitely make again. A favorite.

This was delicious. The chicken was flavorful and tender. The dish was light and fresh tasting and a nice change from the usual fall savory dishes. I cook for my parents once a week and made most of the dish ahead of time.

Good not great although my husband really liked it. I used both red (flame)and muscat grapes but didn't think they really stood out. The whole dish seemed a little bland. It is very time consuming so not a pick for a quick week night dinner. I probably will make it again but will punch up the spices.

Delicious! The recipe is more tangy that you might expect. This is a fairly time-consuming recipe, but well worth it if you're not in a hurry. Be sure to taste the sauce at the end, as you will likely need to adjust the seasonings. Also, as the recipe indicates, the skin WILL be soft at the end of cooking. Just wanted to make sure you were forewarned if that bothers you.

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