Spice-Braised Chicken Legs with Red Wine and Tomato


Alexandra Guarnaschelli's mother, Maria, the legendary cookbook editor at W.W. Norton, made a version of this lightly spicy dish when Guarnaschelli was a kid. Alex has adapted the recipe by adding red wine. More Dishes that Call for Red Wine

Spice-Braised Chicken Legs with Red Wine and Tomato. Photo © Tina Rupp
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 6 whole chicken legs, split into drumsticks and thighs, skin and fat removed

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped, with their juices


  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add half to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Pour off the fat in the skillet.

  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for about 10 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, crushed red pepper and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer over moderately low heat for 5 minutes. Add the stock and the tomatoes with their juices and simmer for 10 minutes.

  3. Add the chicken to the sauce along with any accumulated juices and simmer over low heat, turning a few times, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is flavorful, about 50 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead

The braised chicken can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.


One Serving 284 cal, 8 gm fat, 1.6 gm sat fat, 17 gm carb, 3.5 gm fiber, 30 gm protein.

Serve With

Steamed white or brown rice.

Suggested Pairing

Juicy, dark-berried Tempranillo.

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