Wine-Baked Chicken Legs with Marjoram

The pungent marjoram in the creamy sauce for this crisp-skinned chicken might seem like it would overwhelm the aromas of melon and honeysuckle in a New Zealand Chardonnay. But lightly oaked Chardonnay can stand up to foods with strong flavors like fresh herbs as long as the dish has some richness. Plus:  More Chicken Recipes 

Wine-Baked Chicken Legs with Marjoram
Photo: © Sarah Bolla
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 35 mins


  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 6 whole chicken legs

  • 2 cups dry white wine

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

  • 2 tablespoons chopped marjoram, plus 1 tablespoon marjoram leaves for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Spread the shallots and bay leaf in a 14-by-12-inch baking dish or roasting pan. Arrange the chicken legs in the pan, skin side up, and pour the wine over the legs. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and bake in the upper third of the oven for about 50 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and the chicken is cooked through. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°.

  2. Transfer the chicken legs to a heatproof platter. Discard the bay leaf. Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan and boil over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Add the cream and boil until reduced by one-third for 5 minutes. Pour the sauce into a large glass measuring cup and let stand for 5 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, reheat the chicken legs in the oven, about 5 minutes.

  4. Whisk the butter into the sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thoroughly blended. Season the sauce with salt and stir in the chopped marjoram. Spoon the sauce over the chicken legs. Sprinkle with the marjoram leaves and serve.

Suggested Pairing

A lightly oaked Chardonnay from Matua Valley in New Zealand.

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