Chicken Marinated in Red Wine (and a ladybug story)

Don’t let the purple color of this chicken dish scare you away! The taste of the chicken after having marinated in red wine is divine. 🙂 This recipe was one of our Dad’s favorite meals and one our Mom made often. She made it at home. She made it for company. She made it for picnics. But neither Joey nor I continued making the dish after we moved away – until relatively recently that is.

Joey first worked out the ingredients and proportions she used back in 2013 and I posted the recipe, along with a story about our Dad (and ladybugs) – you can read that post here: IN MY FATHER’S MEMORY: LAUGHTER, LADYBUGS AND CHICKEN MARINATED IN RED WINE

This past week, feeling a bit unsettled with all the recent events, I was craving pure comfort food – something simple, something to soothe my unsettled soul. This recipe ticked all the boxes and I hope it does for you as well.

The chicken is marinated in red wine for at least 2 hours but up to 24, makes it even better. Our mom always used cheap red wine – that wine found in those bottles wrapped with straw – so we would argue, that the cheaper the wine, the better. I happened to have a few half-empty bottles of various red wines from the the past few weeks so I used those first then added a bit more for good measure.

After it’s wine bath, the chicken is simply browned and simmered in the marinade until cooked through. (Be sure to let the sauce boil for awhile in the pan with the chicken given it was used as the marinade.) The aroma is heavenly – and for me, transports me right back to my childhood – memories of taking trays of this to the annual Italian-American Social Club picnic held at a local amusement park – a story for another day.

I like to serve alongside a simple green vegetable like green peas with pancetta and roasted potatoes. My comfort on a plate.

Hoping everyone is doing ok. My heart breaks for our nation and recent events – for me, my therapy to chase away the hurt in my heart is to head back into the kitchen – promise to post often here and on social media in the weeks ahead. We all need each other right now.

Sending much love,

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Chicken with Wine |

Chicken Marinated in Red Wine

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5 from 3 reviews


A simple Italian chicken dish marinated in red wine – comfort food on a plate to soothe your soul.  Serve with creamy roasted potatoes and a simple green veggie such as sauteed peas with pancetta. 


  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • About 3 pounds chicken thighs, skinless
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • Fresh parsley leaves, chopped


1. Combine the garlic, rosemary, salt and freshly ground pepper in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken.  Add a 1/4 cup of olive oil. Stir to combine. 

2. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss with the marinade.  Pour the wine over the chicken to cover. Toss again to mix well.

3. Marinate the chicken, refrigerated, for a few hours or even better, overnight if possible.

4. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade. Pat the chicken dry using paper towels. Using a frying pan large enough to hold the chicken (cast iron works great), heat the remaining few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.

5. Add the chicken thighs and cook until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.  Once browned, pour the wine marinade over the chicken. Bring marinade to a boil and allow to simmer until the thighs are cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees F) and the wine reduces to a wonderful syrup consistency.

6. Allow the chicken to rest for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley and serve!

Join the Conversation

  1. Cousin Michael says:

    Beautiful closing sentiments Michele. Stay safe & have a happy New Year.

    1. Michele Author says:

      Grazie, Michael!! And to you both – stay safe and happy New Year xoxo – Michele

  2. Mary Louise says:

    I quickly added your blog after stumbling across it the other day. Your chicken in red wine sounds intriguing and my husband and I plan on trying it soon. Also, I love your writing style. I agree with the previous reply, your closing statement is beautiful.
    Mary Louise

    1. Michele Author says:

      Hi Mary Louise, Thanks so much for the kind words! Glad to have you at the table…xo Michele

    2. Mary Louise says:

      I can see why this was one of your dads favorite recipes! This dish was divine, simply divine. The aroma from the chicken simmering in its marinade was heavenly and tasted delicious. I served it with patate arrosto. Which also tastes great dipped in the wine sauce! Do you think chicken breast would work instead of thighs or would they get too dry?
      Mille grazie!
      Mary Louise

    3. Michele Author says:

      Yay – so glad you enjoyed it! I agree that boneless chicken breast would be too dry although you could brown them, pull them out and then put them back in to finish cooking once the sauce has simmered for awhile but wouldn’t have the depth of flavor of the thighs magically simmering in the sauce….Michele

  3. This recipe sounds delicious..great way to use up leftover wine. I can’t wait to make it.
    I think of your parents every time I drive by their old home.
    Stay safe. Ginny

    1. Michele Author says:

      Hi Ginny!! Thanks for taking time to leave a comment ….hope you are well! xoxo Michele

  4. Bob from Tennessee says:

    Thank you for giving us permission to use cheap, old, (in my case, leftover frozen) wine to make a dish like this. I’m always hesistant to use a good bottle. Made mine with homemade Italian bread and a salad. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Michele Author says:

      Chuckle…glad to help! (And glad you enjoyed the recipe :-)) xoxo Michele

    2. Bob from Tennessee says:

      It’s kind of like lobster. Each person needs a small bowl of the red wine sauce for dipping their chicken! It’s that good.

    3. Michele Author says:

      CHuckle – thanks, Bob! Glad you enjoyed…Michele

  5. Michele, making the marinated chicken today for. tomorrow. Can you recommend a recipe for what you describe as creamy roasted potatoes?


    1. Michele Author says:

      Hi there! I find the key to a creamy interior, crispy exterior is to parboil the potatoes. Simply cut into potatoes into quarters or halves, put in a pot, cover with cold water and salt (you want the water to be pretty salty but will depend on how many potatoes you are using). Bring to a boil and boil until soft but not mushy – about 10 mins again depending on size of the potato. Drain. And when you are ready to cook, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and chopped fresh rosemary and roast in a hot oven (400 degrees) until crispy – about 15 – 20 minutes again depending on size of potatoes. And of course, you can skip the parboil and they still come out yummy! Hope you are well! Happy New Year – buon anno! Michele

  6. My mother in law made this dish and only used hearty Burgandy and would brown the chicken in Crisco. I make it for my husband and use any red wine I have on hand and olive oil. I use a combination of thighs and breast meat and add mushrooms midway thru cooking. I like a lot of sauce because I serve it over polenta. Of course, you need extra sauce for dipping your crusty bread. I find this to be comfort food, too. My brother in law calls it Pataki (sp?). It is so delicious and reminds my husband if his mom. Thank you for sharing…❤❤❤

    1. Michele Author says:

      I bet this is fantastic over polenta! Yum! Thanks for taking the time to share your version as well! Grazie xo Michele

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