Dinner Rush! Chicken Legs with Roasted Grapes and White Cheddar Grits

Entertain over the holidays with an easy chicken dish that is impressive and perfect, whether it's date night or a party for 12.

What is the holiday season for if not to step back, reflect on the past year and reconnect with those you love. Since at this time of year calendars seem to magically swell with parties, dinners and casual get-togethers, make your gathering as fabulously effortless as possible with a meal that feeds a small group and a full house alike.

The trick to entertaining with style is to prepare a dish for your guests that is delicious, showstopping and requires as little cleanup as possible. This dish, my friends, is the total package. While it’s written for four, it can easily be cut in half for date night or tripled to serve a dinner party for 12. Season the chicken and queue it and the grapes up on a sheet pan so that it’s all ready to go into the oven later. Prepare the grits a short while ahead of time and keep them warm by transferring them to a heat-safe bowl, covering with plastic wrap or foil and setting the bowl over a pot of simmering water.

Was that the sound of you enjoying your own party? Or perhaps it was uproarious applause for a delicious meal that looks like it came off the pages of a magazine? Either way, cheers to the host!

Chicken Legs with Roasted Grapes and White Cheddar Grits
Total Time: 30 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy
Four 10- to 12-ounce chicken legs, trimmed of excess fat
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika
Salt and ground black pepper
1 small bunch seedless red grapes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Season the chicken legs with the spices and some salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet along with the grapes. Drizzle the chicken and grapes with olive oil. Roast until the chicken is deep golden brown and cooked through, about 25 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, place a pot over medium heat with the butter. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until softened, 1 minute. Add the stock and milk to the pot and bring to a boil. Slowly add the grits while whisking. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the grits, stirring often, until they’ve softened and absorbed the liquid, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Reserve warm.

To serve, divide the grits among the serving plates and top each portion with a roasted chicken leg, bundle of roasted grapes and drizzle of the pan drippings from the chicken.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he’s now the Digital Content Manager for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Instagram or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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