- 20 small pickling onions (about 750 g)
- 3 T oil
- 12 free-range chicken pieces (breasts, thighs & drumsticks)
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 fresh thyme 6 small sprigs
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1⁄2 cup verjuice
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
- 1 red grapes bunch, stripped from their stems
- 1 green grapes bunch, stripped from their stems
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Green salad, for serving
- Crusty bread, for serving
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cover the onions with boiling water and set aside for 15 minutes (this loosens their skins).
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large shallow pan and fry the chicken, in batches and skin-side down, over a medium-high heat until the skin is crisp and a beautiful golden brown. (Don’t turn the pieces over or let them cook through.) Set aside on a plate.
Cut each blanched onion in half lengthways, trim the tops and bottoms, and slip off the skins. Fry, cut side down, in the hot chicken fat left in the pan, for 3 minutes, or until nicely caramelised. Take care not to burn them. Carefully turn the onions over using tongs and fry for a further 3 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
Add the bay leaves, thyme and garlic to the pan and cook over a low heat for 1 minute, without allowing the garlic to brown.
Deglaze the pan with the verjuice and wine, stirring and scraping to loosen the golden sediment on the bottom of the pan. Tip any juices that have accumulated under the chicken into the pan. Simmer over a brisk heat for 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol.
Arrange the chicken pieces and onions in a roasting tray, and tuck in the grapes. Pour the hot wine/verjuice mixture around the chicken, and scatter over the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Season to taste.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the grapes are beginning to collapse.
Serve immediately with a crisp green salad and crusty bread to mop up the juices.