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Roasted and brined chicken breast with red wine gravy

I was asked to make a Thanksgiving-style dish without the turkey. There was a recipe that I came across in my library where I substituted the turkey for chicken breasts.

I will admit that is a very involved recipe. Several steps start with making the broth, roasting the meat and finally slowly braising the chicken in the gravy. It is slow cooking at its beat and the final dish is supreme. The chicken is melt-in-your-mouth tender, the gravy is rich and balanced with lovely flavours from the herbs and wine, and the dish is truly a fine dining experience. I serve several sides with this dish as a main course, Vegetarian stuffing, Roasted potato salad with thyme and rosemary, and Roasted Cauliflower with Svanetian salt and adjika. The plate was lovely and decadent, perfect as an entrèe for a lovely Thanksgiving dinner.

I have been fortunate enough to have had dinner at Chez Panisse when David Tanis headed the restaurant. This restaurant with David and a cadre of chefs defined California farm-to-table cuisine, elegant, light and popping with flavours and fresh ingredients. I have his cookbooks, follow his blogs and Instapage, you should too. I love this cookbook, and definitely need to cook more from it!

For more delicious recipes from this cookbook click here.


For the chicken breasts:

6-8 chicken breasts

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

For the broth:

1 chicken breast, cut into half

1 large onion, chopped into large chunks

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 bay leaf, torn in half

2-3 dried porcini or chanterelle mushrooms

10 cups water

For the gravy:

2 tablespoons butter

2 large onions, finely diced

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine of good quality

Parsley, to garnish

Mix all the ingredients for the chicken breasts coating the meat well. marinate in the fridge for 2 hours, but overnight is always better.

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

To make the broth, put the chicken breast, onions, carrots, celery, and bay leaf in a roasting tin or Pyrex dish and roast for 40-50 minutes till the vegetables and chicken are browned well. toss occasionally to get them evenly browned.

Add all the browned vegetables to a large pot. Add a little water to the roasting tin to get the burnt browned bits loose and add to the pot. Add the dried mushrooms, and remaining water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 90 minutes with the lid on.

While the broth is simmering, line a baking sheet and add the chicken breasts in a single layer taking care not to overcrowd the pieces. Broil for 20-25 minutes till the tops are well browned. you may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your baking tray and oven. Remove and set aside collecting the baking juices.

Once the stock has finished simmering, strain the stock keeping the chicken pieces and tossing the rest of the ingredients.

To braise the chicken, heat the butter in a large pot and add the onions. Sautè on medium heat till the onions have got a light golden colour. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute tossing the flour to coat the onions well.

Add 1 cup of the stock and wine and bring to a simmer, making sure the flour dissolves well into a smooth slurry. Add more stock and mix well creating a thick sauce. Finish adding all the stock, add the chicken and submerge completely in the liquids, topping the liquids off if needed. Simmer covered for 1 hour. Occasionally stir the pot checking for liquids and that the sauce is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. The gravy should be thick enough to coat a spoon well.

Serve hot with the gravy spooned over the cut chicken breasts.

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