Roast Chicken with Grapes, Chestnuts and Tarragon Butter

The grape and chestnut side dish here is simple enough to make anytime.


Slideshow: Amazing Chicken Recipes


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  • Servings: 6

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  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • One 4-pound chicken
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 thick slices lean bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips (5 ounces)
  • 24 vacuum-packed whole chestnuts (7 ounces)
  • 1 pound black or red grapes, stemmed

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, blend 1 stick of the butter with 2 tablespoons of the tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Loosen the skin of the chicken over the breasts and legs and spread the butter under the skin. Put the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf in the cavity and season with salt and pepper. Season the outside with salt and pepper. Put the chicken in a roasting pan and roast for about 1 1/2 hours, turning the pan a few times for even cooking. The bird is done when the juices from the inner thigh run almost clear.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and lightly crisp, 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels; discard the fat. In the same skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chestnuts, season with salt and cook over moderate heat until glazed, 3 minutes. Add the grapes and the remaining 1 tablespoon of tarragon and cook until the grapes are about to burst, 4 minutes. Add the bacon. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and cover loosely with foil. Pour the pan juices into a glass measuring cup and skim off the fat. Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan and simmer over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 2 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with the grapes and chestnuts; pass the pan juices.


Cooking Club Tip: Rubbing seasonings under the bird's skin ensures that the flavors permeate the meat. To loosen the skin without tearing, start at the neck end and gently use your fingertips to work your way over the breast and upper thigh. Note: You can make two chickens or double the recipe to serve everyone in your club.

Suggested Pairing

An elegant but fruity red Bordeaux will match the Roast Beef Tenderloin but won't overpower this chicken.

Contributed By Photo © James Merrell Published December 2003

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