White Balsamic-Braised Chicken with Leeks and Peas Paired with a Chardonnay Trio.

Posted on by Kris





“What’s with all the recipes you’ve been making with peas? You know I hate peas!” said Mrs Chislett.

This was news to me. Or maybe not! Maybe it’s just been that long since I actually used peas in cooking, that it completely slipped my mind!
Peas always remind me of school dinners, with the only reason that I find myself using them again here is I had a bag leftover from the last pairing and I knew I wasn’t going to use them any time soon.








If you’re cooking for a family, this recipe will quite easily feed everyone. However, if you’re only cooking for 1-2 people (as I was), be prepared for leftovers!









Tarragon (photo on the right, closest to the camera) rarely makes an appearance in any of my recipes, but without it this dish would have been left lacking that extra “something”.
Tarragon shows an almost licorice and anise-type quality and is certainly used a lot more in European cuisine than it is here. Once again, take the extra step of using fresh tarragon, as dried tarragon doesn’t yield half of the flavor/aromatics.

Make sure when you make this recipe that once you’ve brown-off the chicken in the pan, just remove it and then add the leeks. My original “inspiration” for this recipe suggested using separate pans for each. That makes no sense, for two very good reasons: 1. extra dishes and 2. you’re losing all that chicken flavor from the bottom of the pan.White-Balsamic-Braised-Chicken-with-Leeks-and-Peas







It was a complete last-minute decision to pair-up three different Chardonnays, with my thoughts being to totally overwhelm my wife with wine so she won’t even notice or care about the peas!
I tasted her blind on all three of these wines. I didn’t taste blind myself, as it would have been waste of time (as I already knew the flavor profile of each wine).

Miolo Reserva Chardonnay, Brazil.


My first ever wine from Brazil (that I can remember at least)!
This bottle was sent to me by someone I met on Twitter a little over a year ago. Since it was sent to me by a friend (and not a PR company) I therefore had my fingers (and toes) very firmly crossed that it wasn’t going to taste like total garbage, thus forcing the following conversation to no doubt ensue:
“@Krischislett How was the wine I sent? Did it taste good?”
“@Marilise* Nope! It tasted like a blend of cat piss and pickle juice!!! Please don’t send me wine ever again!!!”


Luckily, the Miolo Reserva Chardonnay was easily the most surprisingly of the bunch, mainly because my expectations were so low from the beginning! The winery tasting notes state, and I quote: “Good color intensity with tones ranging from greenish-yellow to gold. Pronounced intensity harmonizing well the aromas of fruit and wood. This Chardonnay has a good volume in the palate with balanced acidity and pleasant aftertaste.”

Yup, I think those “tasting notes” firmly describe about 90% of Chardonnays on this planet!

Here’s what I thought:
The lightest in body of the Chardonnay trio, the Miolo spends most of its time in stainless steel tanks, therefore preserving the crisp Granny Smith apple and pear aromatics. Green herbs, minerality present throughout, lime zest, toasty oak and a hint of butterscotch toward the back-end. Medium-short finish. Sauvignon Blanc-type acidity and crispness.

Cheers for the wine Marilise! :)

Waterbrook Chardonnay, Washington State.


I’ve featured the Waterbrook Chardonnay in a previous review, so click here for that video as I don’t really want to regurgitate the tasting notes here again.
What I will say is that the Waterbrook is the wine my wife chose as being the best pairing with this particular dish. I agreed.
The one component I really liked was that the wine really picked up on the tarragon in the dish, which I didn’t really expect.
I’ve reviewed three of the Waterbrook wines recently and they’re easily some of the best values coming out of Washington State right now!


Mer Soleil, Santa Lucia Highlands, California.


Butter and cream all-the-way! I had expected the Mer Soleil Chardonnay to fair a little better than it did here. No doubt it’s a well-made wine, but it just threw the dish off balance and didn’t really pair particularly well with any one ingredient. Maybe another time…














I encourage you to spontaneously try something like this in your own home! It’s great fun and if you do in-fact do the whole tasting blind (with numbered bottles and glasses) it will totally change your perception of how wines pair with a meal!


Recipe for White Balsamic-Braised Chicken with Leeks and Peas.

Serves: 4-5
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 45 mins

  1. 4 whole chicken thighs
  2. Kosher salt
  3. Freshly ground black pepper
  4. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  5. 1 cup crème fraîche 
  6. One 10-ounce package frozen baby peas
  7. 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  8. 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  9. 2 large leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
  10. 2 cups chicken broth
  11. 4 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  12. 4 tablespoons chopped parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Set chicken on a chopping board and cut into 2 pieces, separating the leg from the thigh.
  2. In a large pan/skillet, heat the butter and oil. Add the chicken, skin side up, and cook over high heat until lightly browned. Turn-over the chicken and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove chicken from the pan and place on a plate.

  3. Add the leeks to the pan (where you just had you chicken) over high heat until just beginning to soften, about 2-3 mins. Pour in the broth and vinegar and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, stir and then pour the mix into a medium roasting pan.

  4. Set the chicken on top of the leeks, skin side up and roast for about 25 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes (if necessary), until the skin is golden and crisp.

  5. Remove the chicken pieces with tongs to a separate plate. Place the roasting pan over a burner and boil over high heat until the liquid is reduced by around half (not much longer than 5 minutes). Stir-in the peas, herbs and crème fraîche and then simmer until the sauce is hot and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

*Full twitter name hidden.

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