Today for the Food Network’s #SummerFest we are celebrating fresh grapes! I wait all year for the grapes to get sweet and then I eat them until I can’t hold any more. I grew up on green seedless, but these days my favorites are the red ones. I love their color and they add such beauty to anything you use them in and as a garnish on cheese platters and other buffet items.
When I heard what this week’s produce was going to be, my first instinct was to make my wonderful chicken salad for you all because it is full of fresh grapes, but then another of my favorite recipes came to mind, a lovely sauteed chicken with plum sauce. Hmmm, could I switch out grapes for the plums and come up with a whole new family favorite? Oh yeah, I did!
The recipe is really easy. You brown the chicken, set it aside, and make the sauce in the same pan incorporating the cooking juices adding flavor and depth. Then you put the chicken back in the sauce, which helps it cook gently and maintain its moistness. You can have the entire meal done and on the table in 30 minutes – a bonus on busy weeknights!
You could use this technique with any of your favorite fruits that are in season or use dried fruits, macerating them in hot liquid to plum and make them tender again. Change the types of herbs and seasonings you use, taking this from a French classic to Mexican, Caribbean, Greek, or any of your other favorite cuisines. Learn the basic technique and then you can create anything you like!!
Part of the secret of this recipe is using Japanese plum wine, but if you can’t find it you could substitute Mirin, a sweetened Japanese cooking wine. I love cooking with plum wine because it is an unusual ingredient and leaves people saying, “what is that flavor, I can’t quite figure it out.” If you are avoiding alcohol, just leave out both wines and use a combination of chicken stock and water.
I knew when I made it that it was going to taste a whole lot better than it would look and tried to figure out how to photograph it so that you could appreciate the subtle flavors … I know you will fall in love with it just as The Artist and I have! And make sure you check out all the other recipes below for some really unique and delicious ways to enjoy fresh grapes this season! And if you want to find all the recipes we’ve shared with you this year, make sure you head over to the Food Network’s Pinterest page Let’s Pull Up a Chair!
Have a wonderful week!!
Use brown (or white) rice flour instead of all-purpose to make the roux for the sauce.
Kitchen Skill: Making a Roux
The classic technique for thickening a sauce is with a roux (roo) which is a combination of flour and fat, cooked until the raw taste disappears and then thinned out with liquid. The key to a smooth sauce is to whisk the roux while it is cooking, breaking up any lumps, before adding the liquid. If you still have a few lumps, you can always pour the sauce through a wire sieve capturing and discarding them.
Chicken Breasts with Fresh Grape-Wine Reduction Sauce
© 2013 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
Yield: 4 servings
2 tbsp all-purpose flour or brown rice flour
1/2 tsp onion powder (Not onion salt)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (Not garlic salt)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp organic olive oil
4 (about 1 lb) boneless, skinless half chicken breasts, lightly pounded
1 tbsp butter
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 cups halved seedless green or red grapes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup plum wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian or flat leaf parsley
In a small bowl, combine the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine; set aside.
Set the chicken breasts on a work surface and pound until slightly flattened. Sprinkle both sides lightly with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, add chicken to the hot pan and cook until golden on the first side, about 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, turn the chicken and cook until the second side is golden, about 3 minutes longer. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add the butter to the same skillet and melt. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add grapes and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the seasoned flour mixture over the top and whisk until completely incorporated and the flour has coated the grapes and shallots. Add wines and broth; bring to a boil, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth and thickened.
Return chicken to the pan, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and thickened and the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Stir in parsley. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed. If the sauce has thickened too much, add a splash more wine or stock.
Serve hot chicken drizzled with the sauce.
Create a New Tradition Today!
I am always amazed at the incredible talent and creativity of these food writers! Check out their fabulous recipes:
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Kale, Grape and Ginger Lemon Juice
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Grapes with Balsamic Drizzle
Red or Green: Grape and Tomato Salsa
Virtually Homemade: Grape Sorbet
Weelicious: Frozen Grapes
The Sensitive Epicure: Green grapes, Drunken Goat Cheese and Jalapenos on a Toothpick
Domesticate Me: Gingered Grape Cocktail Granitas
Made by Michelle: Quinoa with Grapes, Figs and Caramelized Onions
Taste With The Eyes: Chevre Chaud with Grape Arugula Salad, Limoncello Dressing
Devour: Grape-Filled Desserts
FN Dish: 10 Grape-Forward Recipes
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