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.







Chicken noodle soup

Toss in water the following:

  • 1 kg of chicken wings
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • several sticks of celery chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • a few peppercorns and perhaps a bayleaf
  • chicken feet if available

You can obviously change these quantities to taste. I always make lots and freeze in batches.

Bring to the boil.

After several hours turn off and take the chicken out. When cool enough to handle, bone the chicken and now, this depends. I usually buy extra chicken and after it is cooked save it for another venture (you can freeze it). At any rate put some or all of the chicken back in the soup. This includes the skin, which is the best part.

You have to use chicken wings. They have all the nicely bad things that make stock a gelatinous yumminess.

You may fry in olive oil or ghee the vegetables before adding chicken and water. Since they are being cooked a long time in a fatty stock that isn’t particularly necessary.
And if at all possible, do this: add chicken feet to the stock. Afterwards I discard these, as opposed to the wing meat and they look really scary in the pot – hands trying to get out – but they notably add to the richness of the stock.

Serving: separately cook some sort of noodles. I use risoni or orzo, shaped like rice, but pasta. Add to the soup when they are near to cooked and finish them off there. Chopped up parsley on top. Bread or toast.

Bonus: as mentioned, by putting in extra wings, you end up with both richer stock and chicken meat for other exercises. The wing meat/skin is really robust, can’t be overcooked, is happy to be frozen when cooked. So, you can divide up some of the boned meat into small quantities to do things with like add to a salad or throw it into Japanese soup noodles, to name a couple of things I do with it.


Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

Belinda Jeffery’s 100 favourite recipes is a book well used in my kitchen. It doesn’t all work, but I’m always willing to give her ideas a shot and more often than not they get the thumbs up.

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to bake marinated wings and tried these. It’s hard to decide to make them because the recipe sits next to one she calls ‘the simplest and best sticky chicken wings’. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to bypass it on the basis of missing a critical ingredient. So there I was making the less than best….but still good.


  • chicken wings
  • 3/4 cup clear runny honey
  • 1/2 a cup of Dijon mustard
  • 2.5 tblsps dry white wine
  • 2.5 tablsps olive oil
  • 2 tblsps red wine vinegar
  • 1 tblesp finely chopped fresh ginger (optional)
  • salt to taste


Mix the ingredients, and let marinate for a few hours or overnight. Heat oven to 200C, place wings and the marinade in a roasting tray, spread out. Baste during cooking, they will take an hour.

Jeffrey cooks these with kumara. We had them with a soba noodle salad and a cold spinach-sesame dish.

Belinda J chicken wing marinade

Chicken, lentils and vegetable stew

This was a ‘it’s in the cupboard’ recipe. It’s cheap and makes enough for 6 serves.


5 chicken wings
2 sticks of celery diced
2 carrots peeled and diced
1-2 onions peeled and diced
several cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
tin of tomatoes, crushed if not already
a cup of red lentils, washed and picked over if necessary
water or stock of some sort
ghee (or oil for frying)
some sweet paprika (I used 1 teasp)
some roasted and ground cumin (I used 1 teasp)
some chilli powder (I grind mine and it’s superhot, so I didn’t use much)
salt and pepper to taste.


Fry onions until softening, add celery, carrots and then after a few minutes the garlic. Keep stirring. Low enough heat that nothing burns, especially the garlic. Add the paprika, cumin and chilli powder to taste. Next the tomatoes, perhaps two cups of water and the lentils. Stir thoroughly to make sure the lentils aren’t clumped together, bring to the boil and simmer, covered. I’d say quite a strong simmer, but less than brisk. Stir from time to time and add more water as may be necessary. I wanted something thicker than a dahl, which is why I started with only 2 cups of water. I added a bit more water at some point.

Cook all this for a couple of hours. Then debone the chicken and return to the pot.

Leave for a day.

Good with rice, with mash, stirred into pasta. Obviously one could vary this to make it more Indian-like or more European….I would be curious to see what happens if you use green lentils or chickpeas, if it comes to that.

If you want this meatier – it is a small amount of chicken, 5 wings, you can add more chicken. Maybe later in the cooking process, since wings appreciate long cooking the most.

Poached chicken salad

Personally, I’d rather chew my own arm off than eat chicken breasts that other people have cooked. It is almost never the appropriate cut of chicken to use, tasteless with a bad texture.

But. IF you cook it properly. Maybe…

So, you must poach the chicken extremely lightly, to just undercooked…it will finish cooking as it cools. Something like a little water – maybe an inch, no more – in the pan with a dash of soy and sesame oil and a slice of ginger. Bring to a gentle simmer, add the breasts, cover pan and simmer for maybe a couple of minutes before turning so that the top is now in the liquid. Another couple of minutes and let it sit and cool in this liquid.


Destem baby leaf spinach.

Mix the chicken and spinach with this divine dressing:

Plain yoghurt
Some sort of jam – peach, maybe apricot. It can be that crappy French jam which proudly announces it has no sugar in it. I mean honestly. Jam is ALL sugar. You bought this accidentally, or someone ignorant gave it to you…it’s dreadful stuff on its own, but perfectly useful in this dish.
Good quality white wine vinegar
Green tomato chutney – this I make myself and I will post the recipe.

Fresh bread on the side.

A perfect summer lunch.

Everyday Chicken in a Fried Onion Sauce: a Madhur Jaffrey recipe

Aren’t everybody’s favourite foods the ones you can eat every day? I love this one, one of the first I ever tried from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.

She would be the first to say that in all Indian cooking use meat with bones, it makes all the difference. In this case get a mixture of drumsticks, thighs and wings. Don’t bother skinning the wings, but do skin the rest. I ask the butcher to cut off the wing tips, leaving the meaty other parts.

Everyday Chicken in a Fried Onion Sauce

Serves 4-6
1 kg chicken pieces, skinned, on pain of death not breasts, anything but.
4 medium onions peeled
1 ½ inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic peeled
7 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 Tbsp ground cumin seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper
4 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 ½ cup water
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped (canned tomatoes may be substituted)
2 tsp salt
½ tsp garam masala
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander

  • Coarsely chop 2 onions. Cut remaining onions into halves lengthwise and in very thin slices.

  • Put chopped onions, ginger and garlic in a food processor. Blend until a paste.

  • Heat oil in large pot over medium flame. When hot, put in sliced onions. Stir and fry until they are a deep, reddish brown color. Remove onions with a slotted spoon, squeezing out as much oil as possible to leave in pot. Set onions aside.

  • Remove pot from flame. Put in the blended paste (avert eyes), place back on medium heat, stir and fry until browned (3-4 minutes). Add coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne; stir once. Add 1 Tbsp of yogurt. Stir for 30 seconds until incorporated. Add remaining yogurt 1 Tbsp at a time. Add chicken pieces and stir to cover (1 min).

  • Pour in water, tomatoes and salt. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn to low heat and cook for 20 minutes. Sprinkle in the garam masala and fried onions. Cook uncovered on medium heat for 10 minutes (until sauce reduces and thickens).