California Central Coast Recipes

Pan-fried Harvest Chicken with Red Grapes

Pan-fried Harvest Chicken with Red Grapes incorporates freshly-harvested red grapes that add a complementary and very seasonal taste to the comfort-food favorite flavor of the chicken. The technique for pan-frying the chicken is based on my family's way of cooking at my family's restaurant, the Country Cousin. Our specialty Pan-fried Chicken, which we were well known for, was NOT deep-fried! It took 25 minutes to cook, but it was so delicious it was worth the wait. A side-note, the famous slow-food chef of Berkeley's Chez Pannise Restaurant, Alice Waters, got her start in "the restaurant business" at my family's seasonal Drive-In on the shores of Lake Michigan in Michigan City, Indiana!--Small world!

To make the chicken, first you salt and pepper the chicken pieces, dip in egg, then flour. You saute the pieces in extra virgin olive oil, in batches if necessary. When lightly browned, you finish the chicken in a 350 degree oven. While the chicken is finishing you make the sauce by reducing down white wine with the chicken's pan juices with fresh thyme. Add lengthwise- halved grapes to the finished sauce and wow! What a delicious flavor combination! Even "super-chefs" admit that a good-quality pan-fried chicken is hard to beat! When served with some quick-cooking Fregola- A Toasted Couscous or Golden Orzo with Saffron and a fresh vegetable or even some cooked frozen peas this meal turns into a banquet! ©2018, Pan-fried Harvest Chicken with Red Grapes
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
re-calculate ingredients for:


8 Chicken Thighs , trimmed of excess skin
Salt and Pepper
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Milk
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Dry Bread Crumbs
4 to 5 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup White onion , peeled, and coarsely chopped
1 cup Whole Red grapes , rinsed
1 cup Halved Red grapes , rinsed and cut lengthwise in half
1 cup White wine
3 to 4 Big sprigs Fresh Thyme (depending on strength) , rinsed
2 cups Chicken broth
2 Tablespoons Unsalted butter

Preparation Directions.

1 Preheat the Oven to 350F.

2 Wash off the chicken and pat dry.

3 Beat the two eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Mix the flour, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper together and place in another shallow bowl. Bread each thigh by first dipping it into the beaten eggs, then rolling each thigh it in the flour-crumb mixture. Shake off any extra coating.

4 Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. When hot, but not smoking, add the chicken thighs without crowding and brown evenly on all sides, about 5 minutes each side. Depending upon the skillet size, you may need to do this in batches. Drain off the excess grease and oil from the frying pan.

5 Put the browned chicken in an oven proof dish and place into the preheated oven. Bake the chicken thighs for 20 to 30 minutes or unit till done (juices run clear when pricked).

6 While the chicken is baking, add the chopped white onion to the skillet and saute until tender and starting to caramelize . De-glaze the skillet with the white wine. Add in the roasting pan's juices from the chicken to the sauce. Add the thyme and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the liquid down by half or until thickened to desired consistency.

7 Add in both the whole and halved red grapes and heat the grapes through. When done, remove the sauce off the heat and swirl in the butter, correct seasoning to taste.

8 To serve, place a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce on a plate, then place the thighs on top, surrounded by a combination of the whole and halved grapes. Serve immediately.

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

Serve this with a young red wine, preferably not too tannic. A Sangiovese, or a Grenache would be a good choice.

A tip from Sue!

Cut down on the splatters as you fry or saute

When you're frying meat or fish you can cut down on the splatters by either using a splatter guard or even easier, by simply using a cover for the frying pan. But adjust your heat down to compensate for the increased heat buildup.