Recipe: Julia’s Tray-Roasted Chicken with Grapes, Olives and Walnuts




You’ve rushed home after a busy day at work or play and you want something easy but delicious on the table pronto. Chill out and try the Julia Busuttil Nishimura approach. Julia, a Melbourne cook and author, is an expert on such things;  her wonderful new book Ostra (Plum) is just the ticket. Her book’s motto is, “The pleasure that comes from slowing down and cooking with simple ingredients.”

This scrumptious chicken dish is a perefct way to test her theory. 

A meal that can be prepared in just a few minutes is sometimes very necessary and much appreciated in the middle of the week. Nice free-range chicken from a reputable source will ensure this dish really sings. You really must use skin-on chicken thighs to prevent them from drying out. I like to use good quality Italian olives, with their pits still in, for the best result.

Serves 4 – 6



6 boneless chicken thigh llets

(about 800 g in total), skin on

120 g red grapes

50 g (1/4 cup) olives

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

30 g (1/4 cup) walnuts

1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked

1 lemon

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt



Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, in a deep roasting pan. Scatter around the grapes, olives, garlic, walnuts and rosemary.

Halve the lemon, squeezing the juice into the pan, then nestle the lemon halves into the grapes and olives.

Drizzle with the olive oil, season with sea salt and roast, uncovered, for 40–45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and golden.

If there is too much liquid in the pan, increase the oven temperature to 200°C. Remove the chicken from the pan, keep warm and return the tray to the oven for 5–10minutes to reduce the liquid.

Return the chicken to the pan and serve.



Ostro by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Published by Plum, RRP $44.99, Photography by Armelle Habib