Chicken roasted with grapes

Bursting with the heat from the oven, roasted grapes are a wonderfully sweet and fragrant foil for the chicken here. Seasonal sensibilities say prepare this dish in late summer or early autumn, when the grapes hang heavy on the vine. But, as we all know, grapes, like lemons and apples, are a fruit so widespread that their appeal is year-round. Use black or green grapes. Muscat are especially good.


  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 300g black or green grapes, split into small bunches
  • 1 ½tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 small fennel bulbs or, 4 celery sticks trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • 1tsp fennel seeds toasted and lightly crushed
  • 1 small red onion peeled and thinly sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • STEP 1

    In a bowl mix the chicken with the bay, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt. Season with plenty of black pepper, then refrigerate for an hour.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/425°F/Gas 7. Transfer the chicken, skin-side up, to a lined baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, until cooked at the edges.

  • STEP 3

    Turn down the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F/Gas 6 and add the small bunches of grapes and thyme to the dish.

  • STEP 4

    Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt and bake for a further 15–20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

  • STEP 5

    In a mixing bowl, toss together the fennel, fennel seeds and red onion with a big pinch of salt and the remaining olive oil.

  • STEP 6

    Add the fennel and onion mixture to the baking dish with the cooked chicken and grapes, to soften ever so slightly, adding salt and pepper to taste.

  • STEP 7

    Serve immediately. Some crusty bread to mop up the juices is nice here, likewise some cooked rice or potatoes.