Monday, September 8, 2014

Colonial Chicken with Scuppernong Grape Sauce

What are scuppernong grapes I wondered, when I found a recipe using them in The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook. I did a bit of research and learned they were native to North Carolina.

The explorer Verrazzano wrote to France in 1524, "Many vines growing naturally there..."

Captains Armadas and Barlowe, affiliated with Sir Walter Raleigh, wrote in 1584, "so full of grapes as the very beating  and surge of the sea overflowed all the world, the like abundance is not to be found."

In 1585 the governor of North Carolina wrote to Sir Walter Raleigh, "grapes of such greatness, yet wild, as France, Spain, nor Italy hath no greater..."

Read more about the history of the scuppernong...and muscadines, which are related to each A few tips on how to prepare, store and recipes are included.

To my great surprise I found both scuppernongs and muscadines while grocery shopping in August. I immediately brought a bagful of each! I knew the family would enjoy trying these historic grapes! 

I adapted the recipe from The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook a bit because I wanted to grill the chicken instead of heating up the  kitchen. In August the weather was still nice for delightful cooking and eating on the favorite cooking and eating venue!

Here are the scuppernongs! So pretty!


I varied up the recipe a bit from the cookbook partly because I wanted to grill and also because I didn't have all of the required ingredients. Therefore I substituted from what I had in the fridge and pantry! These spices are all quite common to the colonial era so I used them for the flavoring. See how large those scuppernongs are!


After rubbing oil on the chicken thighs and sprinkling on the dry ingredients, I put them on the grill.


Then I started the sauce. Deseeding is definitely necessary.


The cooking of the sauce...


I topped the chicken with the sauce and served it with a side salad with balsamic dressing and buttered corn.



  1. Grape sauce! That sounds very novel! What did they taste like? Average grapes, or something special? I've never heard of those two varieties, but they are large and a lovely color.


    1. Well you know, I don't specifically remember precisely how they tasted, but I do recall that they were unique enough that I want to buy more next time and do more with them! (I got behind on my posting.) I think they were a bit tart but I made the sauce a bit too sweet. The wine I happened to use is too sweet.The orange juice also made it a bit sweet. I'll just play around with different combinationss I'm seeing them everywhere in the stores now.
      Lots of neat things can be done with grapes. I'll have to share more cooking ideas!