story and recipe by Doug Smith
Love, food, and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. Some of my best memories are in the kitchen; so many of our emotions are wrapped around food. Valentines’s day is just around the corner so why not make things more extraordinary for your special someone this year by serving them a romantic dinner at home? Cooking your favorite meal together in the kitchen or even buying it prepared and bringing it home to enjoy can be very rewarding.
When planning a meal at home, it’s important to remember we eat with our eyes. Think about sitting at your favorite restaurant and glancing over at the table next to you as the food is presented or scrolling through Instagram and Facebook posts showing enticing dishes. It’s true we eat with our eyes, and our eyes are the gateway to our soul. When a dish is visually appealing it is just better. Wouldn’t a rotisserie-roasted chicken make your mouth water more than a plainly baked chicken breast? A salad made with colorful leafy greens, red peppers and carrots are more attractive than a bowl of plain iceberg lettuce. The same goes for the rest of the table. Presenting your food on beautiful plates, having fresh flowers, candlelight, and soft music playing just makes the evening even more special. You don’t have to be a chef or even a good cook to have a great dinner; just enjoy the experience. Give it a try. It’s kind of like love; a little messy but well worth the effort. This year I will be preparing rosemary chicken with roasted grapes for my wife. It’s my personal twist to the classic recipe that is rumored to have inspired a royal wedding.
February 14th isn’t the only day to celebrate love. Choose a date night on a regular basis and have some fun experimenting together with your loved one in the kitchen. Worst case scenario, you can always go out!
Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Grapes
- A drizzle of olive oil
- 3 to 4 lb. whole free-range chicken
- 1 large or 2 small onions
- 4 whole carrots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 of a bunch of fresh rosemary
- 1 heaping tablespoon plain flour
- 10 oz. white wine
- 6 oz. chicken stock
- 1 lb. small potatoes
- 2 handfuls of red and green grapes
- A few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Cut the chicken into 8 pieces. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Season the chicken with Salt & pepper. sauté in batches, until golden all over. Set aside on a plate.
- Peel and cut the onions into wedges, chop the carrots, then peel and finely chop the garlic.
- Add the vegetables to the pan and gently sauté for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat, or until soft.
- Pick and then finely chop and add the rosemary, then stir in the flour. Turn up the heat to medium-high and leave for a few minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pan.
- Pour in the wine and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and let it reduce by half.
- Roughly chop and add the potatoes, pour in the stock, and bring it back to the boil.
- Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is falling off the bone.
- Stir the roasted grapes into the chicken, finely chop and scatter over the parsley leaves, and serve.
Doug Smith is a husband, Father, 25-year veteran Restaurant Consultant, Passionate about Food and Family. He continues to work with some of the best restaurants and chefs in the southeast. Doug enjoys serving up fine meals for his family and friends at home.