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Author Notes: I love unpretentious food, prepared well. I also love playing with presentation. This is an incredibly easy recipe that captures the best of both - every time I've served it, guests have been terribly impressed. If you don't tell them how simple it is, I won't either. Deal?
I like to serve this with Israeli couscous cooked in chicken stock - you can make this in around 20 minutes while the chicken cooks. The trick to this dish is not to overcook it - chicken should never be dry. Meat continues to cook even after you take it out of the oven, which is why it's so important to let it rest - if you allow it to roast until it's fully cooked in the oven, by the time you eat it, it'll be dry. Fortunately, dark meat is quite forgiving. —Kitchen Lore
- 1/2 pound red seedless grapes (you can also use green or a combination of the two)
- 4 large shallots
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 chicken legs
- 3-4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the grapes into small clusters and thinly slice the shallots. In a large bowl, combine the grape clusters, half of the chopped thyme, and olive oil, gently mixing so that the grapes are well coated.
- In a small bowl, combine the rest of the chopped thyme, butter, honey, salt, and pepper. Loosen the skin from the chicken legs by working your fingers between the skin and meat, making sure not to tear the skin in the process. Rub generous amounts of the butter mixture under the skin, and rub the remainder all over the top and bottom of the legs. Reposition the skin if necessary.
- Place the chicken in a large casserole dish (most oven safe pans will work) and tuck grape clusters into the spaces between the chicken legs. Sprinkle shallots on top. Roast until the juices run clear, around 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.