Chicken and Sausage with Muscadine Grapes

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Chicken with Sausage & Muscadine Grapes by Angela Roberts

I’m not as clever as many of my fellow food bloggers, who have gone over the top with crazy, scary foods and made me laugh out loud. Three off the top of my head include, Not Quite Nigella’s Green Witch Fingers, Macheesmo’s Bloody Worms of Doom and Sippity Sup’s Brussels Sprouts Halloween Video. Please do take the time to go entertain yourself.

So I sit here on Halloween and ask myself, “what can I do for Halloween?” It’s only taken the last few years for me to even embrace this holiday. I can’t still decide if it is a REAL holiday. It’s full of controversy , and it upsets the schools boards to no end, so what kind of holiday is it? In our county, some of the schools forbid costumes and if you volunteer to read in the classroom, IT BETTER NOT BE A HALLOWEEN STORY!

Now that is scary to me. I’m not sure who is getting protected by what, but I went to private parochial school and we celebrated Halloween and I don’t remember anyone needing therapy or a spiritual revival from it. But, perhaps their thinking is that it is a “religious” holiday and may offend those who don’t believe in death or ghosts or witches or goblins or maybe orange is a forbidden color. I don’t know, but I’ll share a few secrets with you.

Due to my experiences counseling children, I was Halloween phobic for years. But, then I began to think this through a bit more, living in a neighborhood of children and being as close as I am to the twins that I call aptly the “boos.” As we carved pumpkins late yesterday, and we created a beautiful memory of back porch orange mess, that turned into art, I thought, it’s not halloween that’s gruesome and dark. Bad people are bad people all year round. Good people are good people all year round. It’s in our nature to probe and explore the darkness, and play around a bit. It’s healthy to don a scary costume and feel that side of what lays in us and to face it. Healthy, good people know the difference between a fun scare and sinister.

Spinach Tiger never goes to modern scary movies, never watches violent television shows. Its not my nature to take a bath in the dark side of humanity. But, I carved a pumpkin and I love to watch the old Dracula and Frankenstein movies, or anything Vincent Price. I am a lover of life, and to cast a frown upon my face and say, “halloween is a bad thing…we can’t celebrate it, is a bit bizarre to me.”

And, when I think of all the fun halloween food, well…of course we have to celebrate it. And, here are my eyeballs muscadine grapes and chicken legs.


The Process
Unsure what to do with these beautiful muscadine grapes, I googled and stopped as soon as I found this dish from Lisa at Restaurant Window, that was inspired by a recipe from Zuni Cafe. You could certainly take a look at that dish, this dish and then turn it into your own dish.

I changed the recipe around by cooking the grapes with the chicken and sausage in the oven.

Cut these grapes at least in half and absolutely take out the seeds, as they are very large, but this is not a hard task.

I threw in a the surprise of a fresh cayenne pepper. I don’t like food that is sweet and the finish of heat at the end satisfies my savory taste buds.

This is flavorful and unique enough to be a dinner party treat. I never ever make drumsticks, but after eating this dish, I need to re-examine that sort of chicken snobbery.

And, to top off the heartiness, I threw in autumn orzo. I had just a small bag left of this special papparadelle artisan pasta and it finally found the right pot to jump into.

The end result is just delicious. It’s the rustic one-pot meals that allow me to be able to eat good food at home all the time, no matter what kind of schedule we have, and still, this is not a casserole. You will have a bite of chicken, a bite of orzo or a bite of sausage and with each enjoy the sauce, and taste all the herbs. It’s scary good.


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Chicken and Sausage with Muscadine Grapes

Chicken with sausage and Muscadine Grapes in one pot
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Angela Roberts

Ingredients

  • Chicken Legs or cut up chicken pieces of your choice
  • 4 links Italian sausage
  • Muscadine grapes can substitute red table grapes, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 2 celery sticks or 1 bulb fennel sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Fresh cayenne pepper you can use dried
  • 3-6 Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 sprig of rosemary chopped finely
  • Chicken stock or water
  • Sea Salt Ground Pepper
  • Orzo (1 cup dry

Instructions

  • Rinse chicken in cold water. Pat Dry. Salt. Brown sausage in olive oil. Remove from pan. Brown chicken in olive oil with a 1 teaspoon of butter. I like mild Italian sausage as the fennel adds another layer of autumn flavor. Chicken legs works well, but you can use a whole cut up chicken or even chicken wings.
  • In a roasting pan, add in celery or fennel, browned, chicken and sausage, muscadine grapes, salt, pepper,cayenne pepper and fresh thyme. It will be your call on how much heat to bring into the dish. I made it subtle but present, and I think it balanced out the dish. Too much heat will cloud the flavors.
  • Bake at 375 until chicken and sausage are halfway done and muscadine grapes have begun to reduce. Add in orzo, making sure there is enough liquid in pan to cook them. You can add in some chicken broth or water. Orzo will cook in about 20-30 minutes.

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