Braised Chicken with Onions, Rosemary and Sage

Cook, Mains, Recipes, Weeknight Dinner

Chicken, onions and herbs braised with wine make a warming meal for a cold evening. Serve the chicken over polenta or rice, or set out some crusty bread to absorb the flavorful juices. Sauteed greens make a colorful accompaniment.


Braised Chicken with Onions, Rosemary and Sage


3 1/2 lb. (1.75 kg.) large chicken breast halves and thighs, breasts cut in half crosswise

Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 Tbs. olive oil

2 large onions, 1 finely chopped and 1 cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm.) pieces

2 oz. (60 g.) pancetta, chopped

2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh sage

3 small bay leaves

4 whole cloves

1 1/2 Tbs. tomato paste

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) dry white wine

2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.) low-sodium chicken broth


Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels, and sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. In a heavy large, deep drying pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chicken pieces and cook until brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate.


Pour off the fat from the frying pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the chopped onion, onion pieces, pancetta, rosemary, sage, bay leaves and cloves. Saute until the onions begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring up the browned bits.


Return the chicken to the frying pan with any juices accumulated on the plate. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken breast pieces are cooked through, frequently spooning the cooking liquid over, and turning, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken breast pieces to a plate. Continue cooking the thighs until tender, about 15 minutes longer. Return the breasts to the frying pan and simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve right away. Serves 4.

25 comments about “Braised Chicken with Onions, Rosemary and Sage

  1. Diane Balch

    Haven’t put rosemary and sage together in a chicken dish, but both are classic seasoning. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  2. Braised Chicken with Onions, Rosemary and Sage | Modern Day Moms | The Essential Guide for Modern Parents

    1. Maria

      Which white wine would be good here, or should I use a white wine that is intended just for cooking?

      1. Elizabeth in Charlotte

        Always use the best wine you can afford; if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it and heavens, please don’t use the “cooking wine” found in grocery stores. I keep small mini bottles of Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc on hand for the times I need small quantities of wine in a recipe.

        1. Elizabeth in Charlotte

          If you prefer to buy a bottle, a mid (priced) range of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio is perfect!

  3. T Winter

    For the 4 cloves, is that cloves or a misprint that should be cloves of garlic?

  4. Roxanne Gary

    What would you recommend as a great white wine to cook with? I need your help.

    1. Elizabeth in Charlotte

      If you aren’t a big wine drinker, you can purchase the small mini bottles of Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc on hand for the times you need small quantities of wine in a recipe. If you prefer to buy a bottle, a mid (priced) range of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio is perfect!

      1. Julie M. Vrana

        Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is the white wine I use when a dish requires it. It is excellent; both in the cooking vessel and in my wine glass while preparing the meal!

  5. Clarissa D.

    I have made this several times and its a great hit in my house. I only use 8 pieces of bone-in chicken thighs (organic by Bell and Evans). The cloves is not “cloves of garlic” but actual cloves – aromatic dried flower buds. The look like something you would make chai tea with – it smells woodsy and wonderful. Those 4 cloves make the dish.

    1. Cass Glass

      Some dry white wines are: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscadet, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Gris.

    1. Williams-Sonoma

      Hi Linda, yes, you can make this dish ahead — just let the chicken cool in the cooking liquid, cover and refrigerate overnight. Then reheat before serving. Enjoy!

    2. Julie M. Vrana

      It is probably even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld.

  6. Karen

    Being it’s a rainy November day/night, we decided this dish would be a perfect fall dinner – and it was! It was easy to prepare, didn’t take a lot of time and was delicious. I fused all chicken thighs and found the liquid needed thickening at the end, but other than that, didn’t need to adapt the recipe. A keeper!

  7. Mike

    Made the dish tonight and it was excellent! The sage is potent so be careful and keep to the recommendation. Well done.

  8. Elizabeth in Charlotte

    I have been very excited to make this dish for the past week when I first saw it come across The Williams-Sonoma Facebook page. Honestly, I’m quite surprised by all of the rave reviews. I followed the recipe exactly and found this just ok. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t amazing either. I doubt I’ll make it again. This is the second recipe on Williams-Sonoma in the past two weeks that I’ve made and sadly, the second that was not a keeper for us.

  9. Molly

    If making for people who do not eat red meat, what would you recommend as a substitute for the pancetta? Also, tips for doubling?

  10. Carol Reeves

    Awesome! Simple to prepare. I added in mushroom when adding in the onions. We really enjoyed this dish and the aromas in the house…mmm

  11. Mary

    Okay so did this recipe mean boneless/skinless chicken or bone-in/skin-on. Also, at the end, are the whole cloves removed or do they soften up and are edible?


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