Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Purple Chicken

In the lovely BonWit 504 (home to Melissa and Caroline, where we love to build forts!) our love of seasonal food results in many memorable experiments.

Some good, some bad, some purple. This meal was the latter. A few weeks ago we discovered concord grapes from our CSA. (Community Supported Agriculture) After just munching on them raw...and Melissa realizing she was allergic..we decided to try to cook with them. We found many great grape dessert recipes, but we wanted to spice things up and try a savory dish. Chicken seemed fitting and we knew that the grapes would reduced into a beautiful sauce.

Off we went, to cook our chicken breast with a red wine concord grape reduction topped with fresh rosemary complimented by garlic mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli. this being our first experiment with red wine, we learned some very valuable lessons. We had sauce reducing in one pan, chicken in the other, when Caroline decided to jazz up the meal by pouring some red wine into both pans. It turns out that when you prematurely add red wine to chicken, you get a tie-dyed chicken!

Caroline, being the perfectionist that she is, did not enjoy the result of this otherwise delicious chicken, she claims she even had nightmares about it. While purple chicken may not rouse your taste buds, in the end, the rich flavors of the wine melded beautifully with the salty chicken and juicy concord grapes to create a beautiful fall meal.

Purple chicken aside, we loved this dish. With a few quick alterations you too can create this dinner (without enduring the mishaps of purple chicken).

Concord Grape Sauce:

  • 1 Quart of concord grapes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon flour (We used a gluten-free flour blend)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine the grapes, chicken broth, water, wine, and sugar in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. As the sauce begins to simmer the liquid will begin to plump up the grapes. Stir the mixture, while not being too gentle, you do want to pop some of the grapes to make sure they combine in the reduction. Continue to simmer over medium-high heat while adding some springs of fresh rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.

As the sauce begins to thicken mix in the flour to add some density. When the sauce is reduced and almost at a syrup-like consistency run it through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and skins (you can later add some of these skins for texture). Pour the reduction over the cooked chicken breasts and enjoy!

--By Caroline and Melissa

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