When I first saw this recipe for sheet-pan chicken with shallots and grapes, I thought, ugh, baked grapes? Really? But because this turned out to be the best tasting chicken dish ever, I had to include it on cooking the kitchen.
Sheet-pan recipes are all the rage these days. They are touted as easy-peasy weeknight angels for families that need to get food on the supper table fast, without a lot of work. I can testify that this recipe for sheet-pan chicken with shallots and grapes is a no brainer for minimal prep with speedy results.
In addition to this main, you may roast another pan of vegetables to create a balanced meal. For example, roasted broccoli and carrots for something green and orange to balance out your food color scale. It would be a winner. Simpler yet, asparagus may be more to your taste. Or, if you want to bake a side that is a bit more complex and filling, prepare cooking the kitchen's Tomato Gratin.
Try this recipe for sheetpan chicken with shallots and grapes. It is easy, fast, and flavorful. I bet that you will like it so much, it will another winner to add to your monthly rotation of recipes. Enjoy!Jump to Recipe
This, that, and the other...
Thoughts on employment during a the covid pandemic's time of unemployment.
“If you want to keep growing, you have to shed skin.” Ethan Hawke: The RollingStone Interview, Published Jan. 8, 2019
There was a recent post on facebook, engaging friends to play. It listed all the jobs the person had in his lifetime, one being untrue, and asking friends to guess which one. The post also asked people to list their own history of employment, one being fake, so others could guess theirs as well.
If I were to list the fake job of my past, I would have listed being an assistant at a certain gallery in New York. Out of all the jobs I ever had in my life, it was the one I really wanted. But I did not get it.
I went into the interview on guts alone. Other than having studied graphic design and art history, after having started out in college as a painting major, I really had no qualifications. Except perhaps, a passion for the visual arts, and a burning desire to be part of that world. The paintings in the gallery were so beautiful to me, I would have lived inside the gallery space if I were able to do so. Because I could not, whenever in that part of the city, I would walk to the gallery and get lost in time, looking through the windows at the paintings inside.
At the time, I hoped my interviewer would take an interest, and mentor me to become more than I was at the time. In reality, I never would have fit in. Enter any gallery in NYC and you will see the assistant sitting at a desk, looking at a computer, and actively ignoring most people entering the gallery. They are slim, stylishly dressed, well made up and/or groomed. But more than having the right style, they would know the ins and outs of the international art market. In my twenties, I was far from being that sophisticated, knowledgeable person, sitting behind such a desk.
If playing at this facebook game, one should probably be more outlandish than truthful. But not too outlandish. Saying that I had been a tightrope walker in the Big Apple Circus after deciding law firms were not for me and quitting my job as a paralegal, would be too big of a fib.
A better fake-out would be to say that I had worked at one of the farmers’ markets in France. I would give specifics to make my story more real, and claim that I worked for one of the fruit sellers. This would be the summer after graduating college. It was before I got down to getting a real job and taking steps toward a career as a graphic designer. My summer as a fruit seller, I learned how to chide American tourists in French. I made it clear that they were not allowed to touch any of the fruit. They learned to point to the exact pear or peach they wanted, so I would put it in a basket of their purchases before adding up their total.
This is a game of invention. One often hears or reads of how people reinvent themselves at various times during their lifetimes. Marsha left her family home in Montana to live in the big city, and now calls herself a new one word name, aspiring to become the next Lizzo, Beyonce or Madonna.
But now, as we are sequestered in our homes during the covid-19 pandemic, it is no longer a game. We ask ourselves for real, how do we do this? How do we reinvent what we were in our normal lives, to somehow live in this new normal?
Most especially, how do we reinvent a work life when we find ourselves unemployed, with no way to make a living, feed ourselves and our families, or pay for health insurance? Or how do we pay for rent, or light and gas services within our homes? That is, if we are not living in our cars or on the streets. The list becomes a tunnel into a hopeless infinity.
There was the before, and now there is the new normal. How do we organize our days to make them livable, palatable, comfortable, peaceful and happy? Where do you find light in your days when stepping out of the tunnel of grief and hopelessness?
Where I find light:
- Listening to music
- Walking outside while wearing a mask to protect myself and the people around me
- Cooking healthy meals
- Getting enough sleep
- Staying in touch with family and friends
- Working on quilting projects
- Writing this blog
- Attending zoom videos that open me up and teach me new things
- Watching good movies or tv series ("good" is subjective here)
- Not spending too much time on my computer, watching videos or the news, or endlessly scrolling through social media
- Accepting that some days, the little I accomplish in the day is really enough
- Laying in the hammock in my backyard, reading
- Living in the now, and not the past or the future
- Eating fruit*
Most people are interested in living a long and fruitful life, as you have.
Fruit is good, too. Fruit kept me going for 140 years once when I was on a very strict diet. Mainly nectarines. I love that fruit. It's half a peach, half a plum. It's a helluva fruit, it's not too cold, not too hot. Just nice. Even a rotten one is good. That's how much I love 'em. I'd rather eat a rotten nectarine than a fine plum, what do you think of that?
Sheet-Pan Chicken with Shallots and Grapes
For a fast, one-pan meal, marinate chicken thighs in garlic, and olive oil. Adding za'atar is optional. I used some sumac which is an ingredient in za'atar.
Line your sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil for an easier clean-up. Then, do this step while the oven is heating to temperature.
Place wedges of shallots as well as sweet grapes onto baking sheet. Nestle the chicken pieces among these ingredients.
Roast veggies in another sheet pan, or perhaps serve a side salad dressed with "lemon, olive oil, anchovies, and salty Pecorino cheese."
- 2-½ to 3 lbs bone-in, skin on chicken thighs patted dry
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp za'atar (optional)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 6 medium to large shallots, peeled and quartered root to stem
- 8 oz seedless red or green grapes, or a combination of both, broken into small clusters on the vine
- 4-5 sprigs thyme, plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
- flakey salt, for serving
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss together the chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic and za'atar, if using. Season well with salt and pepper. Place the shallots and the grapes on the sheet pan and gently toss with the remaining olive oil and season well with salt.
Nestle the chicken skin side up in between the shallots and grapes and lay the thyme sprigs on top of the mixture. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes untile the chicken is cooked through and the shallots and grapes begin to soften and caramelize around the edges of the pan.
Turn the oven to broil and move the oven rack to sit right below it. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs and broil the chicken for 1 to 2 minutes until the skin of the chicken is crispy and golden. Scatter with chopped thyme and season with flaky salt.