More for the Southern-Latino Table: Chicken and Muscadines

Recipe by Sandra Gutierrez. Story edited by Matthew Young. Photo by James Lee.

Cary, NC –  Cary author and food legend Sandra Gutierrez shares another delicious recipe with CaryCitizen readers using our own indigenous Muscadine grape from her soon-to-be-released book. If you want , why not try this with a local Chardonnay?

Southern-Latino Chicken in Wine

From Sandra:

“In this dish, plump chicken simmers gently in a light and fruity sauce that is slightly spicy.

From Panamanian estofados to Cuban fricasées, most Latin countries feature recipes for chicken stewed in white wine. This one is reminiscent of those found in Chile — Latin America’s wine country — where oregano is grown and used abundantly.

Muscadine grapes are native to the American South and are in season from September to October. Of the many varieties, I’m partial to the green Scuppernongs and the purple Thomas. The grapes are stewed along with the chicken, adding sweetness to the sauce and developing a texture reminiscent of that of olives.

If muscadines aren’t available, use seedless grapes. The skins of muscadines have a lovely pectin content that thickens sauces. If you use regular grapes, you may have to simmer the stew a bit longer to reduce the liquid. Serve the chicken over rice and offer crusty bread to sop up the juices.”

Recipe: Drunken Chicken with Muscadine Grapes and White Wine


• 1 chicken (4 ½ –5 pounds), cut into 10 serving pieces
• 1 ½ teaspoons salt
• ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 5 cups thinly sliced Vidalia onion
• 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 bay leaf
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 cup white wine (such as a Chilean Chardonnay)
• 3 cups muscadine grapes, halved and seeded (along with any skins that slip off)
• ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (leaves and tender stems)


Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with the salt and pepper.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat; working in batches, brown the chicken pieces on all sides and transfer them to a platter; discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil left in the pan.

Add the onions to the pan and cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic, mustard, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the wine and deglaze by scraping the bottom of the pan; bring to a boil.

Return the chicken (and all of the juices that have collected at the bottom of the platter) to the pan. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the grapes (and skins) and stir well; cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (the juices will run clear when the chicken is pierced with a fork). Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper. Transfer the stew to a serving platter and sprinkle with parsley; serve immediately.

Note: If you have leftovers, be sure to cool the chicken a bit before refrigerating. Reheat slowly over medium-low heat. This dish freezes very well; thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Serves 6

BTW – In case you missed it, check out Sandra’s recipe for Chile-Chocolate Brownies. Muy delicioso, y’all!

The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South published by The University of North Carolina Press will be available in bookstores and on-line next month. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.


3 replies
  1. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    There’s a broad range of Muscadine wines, and Duplin Winery – just about an hour from the triangle and the largest winery in the south (not to mention North Carolina) – has over 30 varieties ranging from dry to sweet. One of my favorites is Brice’s Creek – a dry Muscadine wine – and i’m going to enjoy it with this recipe! Sounds delicious

    • Brooke Meyer
      Brooke Meyer says:


      Thanks, I keep the Duplin “Scuppernong” in the fridge, don’t see the “Brice’s Creek” in stores. Every time I drive that way, time is short. It would be very nice to have a local Muscadine. Any stores around Cary stock it?

  2. Brooke Meyer
    Brooke Meyer says:

    Instead of the Chardonnay, an inexpensive, chilled Muscat like Barefoot Cellars Moscato is wonderful on a warm summer day. Good with Oysters in the fall too! Save the sweet, local Muscadine for Desert.

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