Sangria Chicken

I have been cooking and baking and chronicling it on this blog for so many years that sometimes it feels like a routine.

Sometimes I forget that when I first moved to Boston, I hardly even knew how to cook an egg.

Sometimes I forget that when I was in college, I would force feed my friends spaghetti drenched in Campbell’s mushroom soup.

Sometimes I forget that I used to subsist mostly on take-out and cake (I’ve weaned myself out of take out but cake will always remain).

Sometimes I forget that I’ve come a long way.

A few weeks ago, I hosted a small dinner party at home. I started off my guests with goat cheese-avocado-and red pepper jelly bruschetta, then presented this Sangria Chicken with a flourish, declaring that it’s a new recipe I’ve been thinking about for weeks.

I also served spaghetti aglio olio, roasted asparagus, and two kinds of homemade desserts (cookies and fudge). It all seemed normal to me, to make multiple courses for a small get-together.  But my dear friends, after oohing and aahing, reminded me that this wasn’t normal Bianca behavior five years ago, or even three years ago. Because it’s true. I’ve come a long way from boiling boxed tortellini, tossing it in butter, and calling it a meal (although there is nothing wrong with that).

I meant for this Sangria Chicken recipe to sound fancy, but it’s not – it’s really just a hop and a skip away from regular roast chicken. Or more specifically, it’s red wine and orange juice away from regular roast chicken.  It tastes like what a good home cooked meal should taste like, and it makes my “kitchen” (in quotes because I have a small box of a room that’s designated to be the kitchen, dining, and living room) smell what a nice, homey kitchen should smell like.

I love this recipe mostly because it uses my favorite drink, sangria. I know that there are different ways to make sangria – in addition to red wine, some people may add orange juice, triple sec, brandy, club soda, lemon juice, simple syrup, etc. But my favorite sangria recipe is the most simple and most basic one that I’ve learned from my mom: it’s a combination of red wine and orange juice. That’s it, pure and simple. My mom would add chopped fruit, but when I am too lazy to do that, I just pour some red wine into my wine glass and top it with orange juice. You can be sure that I poured myself a glass (or three) while making this chicken recipe.

But I also love this recipe because I made it for my friends.  We  all shared a good meal, and spent hours laughing and talking and eating. That’s the best part of cooking and baking.  That’s what makes it all worth it. I may have come a long way, but my heart is still in the same place: always wanting to be with friends, family, and a good glass of sangria.

Sangria Chicken


8 chicken thighs
1 small yellow onion, thickly sliced
1 cup carrots
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (around 2 twigs)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cup red wine
1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the onions, carrots, and garlic in a roasting pan or casserole/baking dish. Toss with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the dish and place chicken on top, skin side down.
  4. Mix red wine and orange juice together, then pour mixture over chicken and vegetables. Roast the chicken for 40 minutes, flipping halfway so you'll finish with the skin side up.
  5. Remove dish from oven, take out chicken pieces and set aside in a separate dish, covered in foil. Pour wine and vegetable mixture in a saucepan and add brown sugar. Cook over medium high heat to reduce sauce, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Place chicken back in baking dish, add the reduced sauce and vegetables, and place back in oven for 5 minutes before serving.