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Chicken with Grapes and Currants
Arwen Southernwood

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Original Recipe

To bake chikins:

Thomas Dawson, The Second Part of the Good Hus-wives Jewell, 1597
First season them with cloves & mace, pepper and salt, and put to them currans and Barberies, and slitte an apple and cast synamon and suger upon the apple, and lay it in the bottome, and to it put a dish of butter, and when it is almost enough baked, put a little suger, vergious and orenges. 



One small roasting chicken or two Cornish game hens
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup currants
1 cup red seedless grapes 
2 baking apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup verjuice (sour grape juice)
1 cup fresh orange juice, or one orange, peeled and sliced

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
  2. Rinse chicken and remove giblets.  Mix the currants and grapes and use them to stuff the bird.  Sprinkle the bird with cloves, mace, pepper, and salt.  Rub the outside of the bird with about half of the stick of butter.
  3. Core the apples, slice them, and lay them in the bottom of a roasting pan.  Mix the cinnamon with one tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle over the apples.  Dot the apples with the remaining butter.  Lay the bird on top of the apples.
  4. Put the roasting pan into the oven and immediately reduce heat to 375 degrees F.  Bake for one hour.
  5. Meanwhile, blend sugar, verjuice, and orange juice.  When the chicken has baked for an hour, gently pour this mixture over it and return it to the oven for another half hour.  Total cooking time will vary with the size of the chicken; test for doneness using a meat thermometer (160 degrees F), or when the joints move easily and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. 

Number of Servings

Serves 4-8.

Redaction Notes

In several other recipes, Dawson suggests the substitution of grapes for barberries.  Since I could obtain grapes far more easily, I chose to make this substitution for this recipe as well.

While the original recipe implies oranges rather than juice, I had juice on hand after candying orange peels, so I chose to use it instead.


  • Dawson, Thomas:  The Second Part of the Good Hus-Wives Jewell (Originally published 1597).  Falconwood Press, 1988, p. 33. 

Date Of Redaction

June, 2002.

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