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Oct 3, 2017
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WINE WITH…Asian Style Chicken Legs

This is a very versatile and forgiving dish. Sometimes we make it with chicken legs left over from a rotisserie bird, while other times we oven-roast the legs. It’s always a good dish to make if you have left over
risotto or other rice. Adjust the seasoning, adding more red pepper flakes or fresh hot pepper to your taste. This is simple comfort food, designed to be enjoyed with easy-sipping comfort wine!

Asian Style Chicken Legs

Serves 2

2 roasted chicken legs, with or without thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil (if roasting the chicken thighs)
Salt and pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup white wine
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 pod star anise
1 teaspoon soy sauce, or more to taste
finely minced spicy red or green pepper to taste (or red pepper flakes)
1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
2 cups cooked rice, white or brown
2 scallions, sliced
minced chives for garnish

To roast the chicken thighs, preheat the oven to 400°.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Rub the olive oil all over the chicken thighs and season them to taste with salt and pepper. Roast them for about 30-40 minutes, or until the juices run clear.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the chicken parts, combine the chicken stock, wine, ginger, star anise, white wine, soy sauce, peppers and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 8 minutes. Add the rice, scallions, and cooked chicken and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until all the ingredients are thoroughly heated through.

* * *

We’ve usually opted for white wine with this dish, but our tasting for this column revealed that a red can work equally well. Depending on how much spicy pepper you use, the chicken can carry a fair amount of heat, so don’t choose anything too delicate. Aggressive flavor, though not necessarily aggressive acidity or tannin, proves to be the key to a successful match.

Connect  on Twitter:   @M_L_Thomas  and  @Wine_With_
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Approx. Price



Monterey/ Sonoma

(California) Pinot Noir



A surprisingly elegant California Pinot, particularly given its fairly low price tag, this wine displays bright, cherry-scented fruit as well as echoes of leather and savory spice. Velvety on the palate, it made for a welcome dinner companion.

Clos Pegase,


Napa Valley



“Mitsuko’s Vineyard”



Rich but finely balanced, this Chardonnay more than held its own with the dark meat chicken. It has full, rich flavors, so refused to back down, even when encountering peppery heat.

Fairview Estate


(South Africa)

“Cape Granite Blend”


(Imported by Vineyard Brands)


A blend of Syrah (65%). Grenache (20%), and—surprise—Tempranillo (15%) this medium-bodied red tastes seductively smooth. There are hints of black pepper lurking behind its primary fruit. They came to the fore when the wine was tasted with the dish.

Marqués de Cáceres,





(Imported by Vineyard Brands)


Bright pink in color and tasting of fresh strawberries, this rosé had unexpected depth when enjoyed with the dish. Its brightness faded a bit, only to be replaced with something more serious and inviting.

Maximin Grünhäuser,






(Imported by Loosen Brothers)


Light-bodied but full of stone fruit flavors ending with a haunting mineral-tinged note that lingers effortlessly, this wine displayed a special affinity for the ginger, soy and star anise in the dish. One suspects that if the Asian flavors were even more pronounced, it would shine even more brightly.