Claret chicken with thyme and bacon

A robust red wine marinade adds depth of flavour to Mary Berry's rich and tasty chicken dish, ideal for entertaining
By Mary Berry
Claret chicken with thyme and bacon
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus overnight marinating
  • Effort: easy



  • 6 small chicken breast fillets, skinless
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 2 fat clove garlic, crushed
  • 200 g rashers of streaky bacon, cut into strips, or bacon lardons
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 250g small chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 25 g butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 300 ml red wine, (ideally claret)
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

2. Put the chicken breasts into a sealable plastic bag and add in the brandy and crushed garlic. Seal the top of the bag and massage the flavours into the chicken for a minute. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Fry the bacon in large, dry frying pan over high heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and set to one side.

4. Add the onion to any bacon fat in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes over high heat, stirring often.

5. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook the onion for about 20 minutes until soft.

6. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and add in the mushrooms. Fry for 2-3 minutes, adding in the sunflower oil and butter.

7. Reduce the heat, stir in the flour and slowly blend in the red wine and stock, stirring all the time.

8. Bring to the boil, then stir in the tomato puree, soy sauce, redcurrant jelly, salt and freshly ground pepper and thyme. Boil the sauce for 3-4 minutes then set to one side until ready to cook the chicken breasts.

9. Arrange the marinated chicken in a single layer in an ovenproof dish. Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover with foil and cook in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until chicken is tender. The timing depends on the size of the chicken breasts and temperature of the sauce.

10. Alongside the chicken, reheat the bacon in an uncovered roasting tray in the oven 10 minutes.

11. Sprinkle the bacon and parsley over the chicken to serve.

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