Chicken with Sweet Wines and Grapes

A delicious recipe which I pulled out of a House & Gardens magazine. Apparently it hails from Florence. It is absolutely delicious and so easy to make. It is a regular on our mid-week or weekend dinner table, and also works just as well for a low-maintenance dinner party that doesn't compromise on style or flavour.




  • SERVES 4
  • 4 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 Sprigs rosemary, leaves only, chopped
  • 8 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
  • 30 g Butter (optional)
  • 150 ml Sweet Muscat Wine
  • 750 g Seedless mixed white and red grapes, rinsed and drained


one. Heat 2tbsp of the oil in a sauté pan or casserole wide enough to hold the chicken pieces in a single layer. Add the chopped rosemary and then the chicken thighs, skin side down.

two. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook over a medium heat until lightly browned. Then turn over the pieces and season again, then cook until the other side is lightly browned.

three. Add the whole garlic cloves. When they have only just begun to colour on one side, add the butter, if using – it gives a lovely creaminess to the sauce – and pour in the Muscat wine.

four. Put a lid on and simmer over a low heat for about 25 minutes, until the chicken thighs are tender, moist and juicy, turning them over at least once and removing the lid towards the end to reduce the sauce. Taste for seasoning – you need enough salt and pepper to balance the sweetness of the wine.

five. At the same time, heat the remaining 2tbsp oil in a wide frying pan and add the grapes. Cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan and turning the grapes over until they have collapsed and their juice is much reduced. Pour them over the chicken pieces and heat through together.

Serving Suggestion. This works well with a green salad, or with asparagus or purple sprouting broccoli. Rice makes a great side, or polenta as the original recipe suggests.

Possible Amendment. Sometimes I add a couple of thinly sliced onions to this recipe. I fry these first, softening them gently for 5-10mins in some olive oil and butter (omitting the butter later on). In this version, I brown the chicken separately and then add to the casserole with the onions. I also sometimes replace rosemary with a couple of tablespoons of fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar. All options are delicious.