Chicken in Red Wine

I’ve been the recipient of many a dish of this as it’s one of Manny’s regular offerings. It’s a relatively time-consuming affair, you flour the chicken, fry it, separately fry a whole lot of shallots, eventually the whole thing comes together and meanwhile he serves it with vegetables done in the oven with rosemary and garlic, which also takes a while. Lots of chopping.

However, he’s too busy all the time to cook now. Hence this extremely pared down, low effort version by me.


  • chicken pieces as you please – NOT breasts!!
  • red wine
  • onions finely chopped
  • garlic finely chopped
  • ghee (or butter, or olive oil, or other oil as you prefer or have available)


I used thighs, drumsticks and wings. Wings will add to the thickening of the sauce, though my sauce is runny. For 2 x drumsticks, 2 times thighs and 5 wings I used about a third of a bottle of wine. Jacobs Creek, readily available in Geneva.

Heat a wide pan, add the ghee and when hot add the onions. Fry until quite soft, don’t burn. Add garlic towards the end. Throw in the chicken pieces and brown, turning. Now the red wine, bring to a bubbling boil, let it reduce a bit, cover the pan, turn to a simmer. You can turn the pieces a few times and/or baste, as the liquid won’t cover the chicken.

It made such an excellent lunch, it’s hard to believe that it will probably be even better tonight for left-overs.

Vegetables: in the olden days when Manny cooked this, we had potatoes, carrots and maybe brussel sprouts in garlic, rosemary and olive oil, done in the oven on a tray. Divinely good,  makes a meal on its own. I boiled baby potatoes and topped and stemmed green beans which were steamed and then quickly sauted at the finish in butter in which I’d toasted almond slivers. Needless to say, mash is perfect.

Options: I think a very simple risotto – garlic, parsley, lemon, chicken stock if you have it – is a great on-the-side for this. But having some cooked Jasmine rice in the fridge, I fried finely chopped garlic in a little butter (non-stick pan), added the cooked rice, and then the parsley. The juice of half a lemon was stirred through just before serving. Almost as good and much less work.

Tips: hard to overdo the onion in this. You want to fry them until they are soft without browning. This will have a thickening the sauce effect, along the lines of how Indian sauces are done. The original dish in our house had whole shallots fried separately and then added. I think that again, finely chopping shallots and then frying them until very soft before adding the wine, will be better from a melding into the sauce point of view. And shallots cook much more quickly than onions, useful to know if you are in a hurry.

The moral of the story being sometimes shortcuts work.






7 thoughts on “Chicken in Red Wine

  1. I am not sure in fact that the minimal version is any worse than the elaborate one!

    I need to get back into the kitchen again. I am tired of doing software all the time 😦


  2. I think I did something wrong, but I don’t know what. I floured the (breast) chicken pieces before frying them (no shallots) and may have over-reduced the sauce. I used ghee to fry in. Want to try it again. Am loathe at this point to hold the French red wine at fault. Shurely shome mishtake?


    • Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t occur to me that breasts might be on the menu. I will make a note in the recipe. You can’t use breasts for this sort of dish, they don’t have taste, they can only be cooked for a few minutes before being overcooked.


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