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Braised Chicken Legs with White Wine, Bacon, Cipolline Onions & Mushrooms


Serves four.

A large, straight-sided-ovenproof sauté pan with a lid is ideal for making these chicken braises.

  • 8 small cipolline onions (or 4 large cipolline, halved)
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on medium chicken thighs (1-1/2 to 1-3/4 lb.)
  • 4 chicken drumsticks (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 8 medium cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved
  • 3 oz. bacon (3 strips), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 large thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF.

Bring a 2-quart saucepan of water to a boil. Drop in the onions and blanch them for 1 minute. Drain in a colander, then shower with cold water to stop the cooking. Peel the onions, leaving enough of the root end intact that they will remain whole while cooking.

Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. In a straight-sided 10- or 11-inch ovenproof sauté pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan (it’ll be crowded), cover with a splatter screen, if you have one, and cook until deeply  browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook until the other sides are deeply browned, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Transfer to a plate. Pour out and discard all the fat from the pan.

Put the pan over medium heat. Add the peeled onions, mushrooms, bacon, and carrot to the pan and cook until the bacon is crisp and the vegetables are browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Boil until the wine has reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan, along with any accumulated juices, and cover. Transfer to the oven and braise until the chicken is fork-tender and the drumstick meat starts to come away from the bone, 45 to 50 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, onions, bacon, carrots, and mushrooms to a serving dish and keep warm by covering the dish loosely with foil. Discard the thyme sprigs. Tilt the sauté pan and skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil over mediumhigh heat, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, skimming off any skin that forms on top, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with pepper (the sauce should be nicely salted at this point). Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the thyme leaves, and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with mashed potatoes.

Drink Suggestions

Pair this braise with a crisp, minerally white from northern Italy, such as the Gini Soave Classico.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 460; Fat (g): fat g 26; Fat Calories (kcal): 240; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 6; Protein (g): protein g 36; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 10; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 850; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 110; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is a great dish that I have made a number of times. Short list of ingredients makes it easy to shop for. And it's not expensive. I made it for 12 guests and it was terrific. I used frozen pearl onions and browned them well. Much easier than the cipolline onion step. I double the sauce because it's so good...and never enough for my guests. Big tip or use homemade chicken stock. It makes a HUGE difference! Save on the expensive cipollines and splurge on the stock. You won't be sorry! I will try dusting the chicken with flour to give the sauce more body. I also serve this over polenta with goat cheese and rosemary. Polenta is much less laborious than mashed potatoes!

Wonderful, rich flavour. Next time I will use more wine and stock so there is more sauce. I made it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts for a low fat version. Since I had the white wine out, I made risotto and it was a perfect side dish.

This recipe was excellent. The chicken came out very tender and the sauce was tasty. I will definitely make again.

Even dumbing this recipe down with skinless chicken thighs, frozen pearl onions and dried thyme, this was delicious. We were going to be away from home until dinner time, so I prepared the complete dish earlier in the day. Use a heavy pot to retain the sauce, put it in a slow oven (275 degree) for about 2-1/2 hours and dinner was ready on our return. This will certainly be a do-over!

This is a truly awesome recipe. It is so good in the winter when it is cold outside. I made it exactly as the recipe indicated and will make again and again and again. It was that good. All of my extended family has the recipe by request.

Great dish for company, as it looks as good as it tastes.

Fabulous and great for company as it can cook while you greet your guests. The only change I did was to use just a large diced onion in place of the Cipollines and I gave the chicken a dusting of flour before braising. Delish!



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