My bubbles obsession is real.
I may or may not be lying when I tell you I own two “Mornings are for Mimosas” shirts, one “I Sweat Champagne” shirt, and have recently (as of oh, two and a half weeks ago) retired my “Pop the Bubbly I’m Getting a Hubby” shirt. Totally normal, right?
Well, what SHOULD be totally normal is making Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots at least once a week for the foreseeable future. It’s still “fresh” enough to be considered a summer meal (if you have A/C and can afford to turn on your oven for significant amounts of time, that is) yet also “homey” enough to carry us through the fall. Because that’s what the month of August is all about, right? Figuring out how in the world we’re going to transition from long days at the beach, sandy hair and tan lines to earlier sunsets, cooler weather and back-to-school duties?
To be completely honest, I decided to make a roast chicken because I was in desperate need of some more homemade chicken stock. My freezer stash was at almost zero Tupperwares and I have become such a snob that, no, I do not want to just go to the store and buy a can or carton of the pre-made stuff. No siree, said this snobby food blogger, only the real deal for our household.
Speaking of homemade chicken stock (allow me to digress a bit)…Have you ever made your own? Let me tell you, if you haven’t, you are REALLY missing out. All you need is a slow cooker (I suppose a large pot on the stove would work as well, it just requires more babysitting), some chicken bones and whatever aromatic herbs and vegetables you have sitting in your refrigerator drawers (I often use onions or shallots, celery and carrots if I have them, and whatever fresh herbs I have on hand.) Oh, and water of course. Throw everything together in your pot and simmer away for eight or so hours and, voila! You have homemade chicken stock to stash in your freezer to use at any moment’s notice.
Okay, so I knew I needed to make a roast chicken, I had this fancy new roasting pan to break in (yay for wedding gifts!), and now I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with said roast chicken. My usual go-to roast chicken recipe is the Engagement Chicken from Glamour Magazine (have you tried it yet? Whether you’re hoping to become engaged or not, you most definitely should give it a shot.) But this time around, I wanted to do a little something to make it my own.
I started thinking about a turkey recipe I’d made before that used apple cider, which for some reason then made my mind wander to sparkling wine (see notes above on my slight obsession.) I figured the acidity and citrus-like flavors in the sparkling wine would pair beautifully with that comforting, savory flavor you get whenever you roast poultry. I also wanted to add some “accessories” if you will, so I decided to throw in some green grapes and big chunks of shallots to roast along with the chicken. Drippy, champagne-y gravy from roast chicken, meet grapes and shallots — heaven!!!
So, using my new ideas for this Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots, I still basically followed the directions for Engagement Chicken, because why mess up something that is so right? We simply pour the champagne/sparkling wine all over the little chick, stuff it with lemons AND oranges, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and pop it in the oven. There’s a little flip of the bird about 15 minutes into cooking, and then we add the grapes and shallots for about the last 15 minutes, but other than that, you set it and forget it!
I used a 6-pound bird, but you can toy around with that or just use whatever size they have at the store (I got my roaster at Costco.) Just remember to allow about 20 minutes of cooking time per pound of bird, plus an additional 15 minutes at the end. After the first hour-and-a-half to two hours, just check the temperature every so often. You’ll want it to read 180 degrees before you pull the bird out of the oven.
Last note before I leave you with this amaze-balls recipe for Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots: Whatever you do, DO NOT DITCH THE GRAVY. Now, I guess I can’t really call it “gravy,” because I did not thicken it, separate it, what have you. I simply poured the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan into a gravy boat and then the hubs and I drizzled it over our chicken before we ate it. Soooooo delicious!!!! Don’t miss it. Please.
And that’s that! Pretty dang easy for such a beautiful-looking dish, don’t you think?
- 1 6- pound roaster chicken
- ½ cup champagne or sparkling wine
- Juice of ½ orange reserve other half of orange for stuffing chicken
- Juice of ½ lemon reserve other half of lemon for stuffing chicken + 1 additional lemon
- Salt & pepper
- 3 shallots quartered
- 2 cups green grapes halved
- Fresh sage and thyme sprigs for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove innards from chicken and rinse with cold water. Let drain in a large colander for 2 minutes.
- Pat chicken dry and place in roasting pan, breast side down. Pour champagne/sparkling wine all over and inside the chicken. Do the same with the orange and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the juiced orange and lemon halves, their unjuiced other halves, plus the additional lemon, and stuff inside the chicken. Prick the whole lemon a few times with a fork before stuffing it to help release the juices inside the chicken.
- Place chicken in oven and turn down heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- Remove chicken from oven and, using tongs or wooden spoons, flip chicken over so that the breast side is now facing up.
- Return to oven and continue cooking until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Start checking the temperature after about an hour and a half. For the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, add shallots and grapes to bottom of roasting pan.
- Once meat thermometer reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from oven. Transfer grapes and shallots to a serving platter first, and then transfer chicken so it sits in the middle of the grapes and shallots. Garnish with fresh sage and thyme sprigs. Use a carving fork and knife to serve.
Wine Pairing Note: When a recipe involves wine, one of the most natural pairings will always be more of the same wine! That being said, I’d highly recommend that you just serve up the rest of whatever bottle of sparkling wine or champagne you use for the chicken. You could also pair a lovely chardonnay that is either partially oaked or not oaked at all, as you want some acidity to pair with the citrus flavors in the bird and the herbs garnishing it.
Oh hey there crispy citrus-champagne-chicken skin…
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