Chicken with Grapes and Baked Rice

 When I was in my 20’s this was one of my first guest worthy dinners I proudly made many times!  I remember well the woman I worked with that gave me both of these recipes when I was looking to make something other than Italian!   She said it was her favorite easy meal to prepare and she was so right!   I always received so many wonderful compliments on the tenderness of the chicken and the amazing flavor of the rice. 

I lost contact with my coworker a long time ago and also stopped making these two dishes many years back.  To my surprise, I recently heard from some friends that I gave this recipe to that they are still making it to this day!   It brought back many memories of this easy dish of boneless chicken breasts simmered in a mix of white wine and chicken broth.  The presentation with the grapes shows so pretty and gourmet.   

So I decided it was time to bring back the memories of this dinner.  In recalling the ingredients to the rice, the recipe called for one 10.5 oz can French onion soup and one 10.5 oz can beef broth.  Reading the ingredients on the French Onion soup I decided I can easily lightly caramelize some onions and simmer in organic beef broth than deal with all the extras that can of soup threw in!  I suppose it makes it less of an instant dish to put together, but these days I prefer to take a few more steps to eating healthier. 

The results were as I remembered.  The aroma so enticing, the chicken fork tender; the rice just couldn’t be any simpler or tastier!

Chicken with Grapes and Baked Rice

4 boneless chicken breasts, lightly pounded

1 egg lightly beaten

1 cup dried bread crumbs

3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1- 2 tablespoon herbs de Provence (see below for blend of spices)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

½ cup good white wine

¼ cup chicken broth

¼ cup sliced green onion

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 bunch grapes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly pound chicken to an even thickness.   Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, herbs, kosher salt and pepper in one plate; beaten egg in another.  Bread chicken first in egg, then in bread crumb mixture. 

Heat a large skillet with olive oil and butter.  Sauté chicken breasts in batches until lightly browned, though not fully cooked.  Place breasts in casserole dish.  Combine white wine and chicken broth and pour over chicken breasts.  The liquid should be halfway to the chicken breasts.  Sprinkle chopped green onions and garlic.  Cover casserole and bake for 45-50 minutes.  Remove foil, add grapes and serve hot.

Herbs de Provence

  • 2 tablespoons dried savory
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons dried fennel seed

In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients together. Store in an air-tight container.  Makes 1 cup.

Baked Rice Casserole

1 cup uncooked brown rice (or white)

1 small onion, finely sliced

1 tablespoon butter for caramelizing the onions

1 tablespoon herbs de Provence

1 28 oz organic, low sodium beef broth

¼ cup butter

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in medium saucepan.  Add onion and slowly cook until onion is very soft and beginning to caramelize.  Pour in beef broth and herbs and simmer for 15 minutes.  Can be made ahead, cooled and refrigerated. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine uncooked rice, beef broth with sautéed onions and ¼ cup butter in butter casserole.  Place in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.  Sprinkle on chopped parsley, serve hot.

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