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5 from 2 votes

Chicken à la Benson

The easiest way to cook any cut of chicken to create a fork-tender texture with crispy skin.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Fusion
Servings: 8
Calories: 335kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu


  • 8 bone-in skin-on thighs (or any skin-on chicken pieces, enough for however many you're feeding)
  • 1/4 cup salt for brining the chicken
  • One head garlic , peeled, large cloves halved
  • 1 to 3 hot peppers of your choice , chopped (seeds removed for less heat)
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped (Optional)
  • 1 cup red wine the amount will vary depending on your taste and the size of your baking pan
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or water) (*see footnote 1) (Optional)
  • Mixed curry powder (or your choice of spice blend) (*see footnote 2)
  • Potato starch to make gravy (Optional)


  • In a 5-quart pot, add salt and enough hot water to dissolve the salt. Mix until the salt is fully dissolved. Add ice to cool the water to well below room temperature. Add chicken and brine for 30 minutes. This process will remove blood and any unpleasant flavor from the chicken, thus enhancing its taste.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 F). Line a big baking pan with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning).
  • Scatter the garlic, pepper, and bacon pieces across the bottom, evenly.
  • Place the chicken in the pan, touching gently or isolated (not jammed together), skin side up.
  • Pour red wine over the chicken and add chicken stock, until the liquid is halfway up the sides of the chicken. (Footnote 3)
  • Scatter curry powder (or your favorite spice blend on the chicken). Pat gently to make sure the entire surface is covered with the spice. (Footnote 4)
  • Bake at 180 degrees C (350 F) until the internal temperature registers 74 degrees C (165 F), or until the juice runs clear. It should take about 45 minutes or so, and up to an hour and half (*see footnote 5).

(Optional) Make gravy

  • Transfer the leftover juices from the baking tray to a skillet. Heat over low heat. Dissolve about 2 tablespoons potato starch in 1/4 cup water. Slowly add the starch slurry into the skillet, a tablespoon at a time. Whisk constantly, until the broth thickens. If the broth is still too thin, make and add more slurry. If the oil separates from the gravy, add an ice cube into the gravy and mix again.
  • Serve the chicken warm with your preferred sides. If you’ve made the gravy, you can serve it with mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, or baked vegetables.


  1. You can use straight red wine (no chicken stock) in this recipe, if you like a stronger flavor. I used 1 cup red wine and 1 cup chicken stock. The dish came out very well-balanced, with a nice fruity aroma, without tasting alcoholic at all.
  2. I used half Madras curry powder and half Garam masala powder, because the curry seasoning goes very well with red wine.
  3. Alternatively, you can pour red wine over everything, until it's about halfway up the sides of the chicken. (This is the instruction from the original recipe)
  4. No salt needed - the wine adds enough tannins and nitrates that it feels like salt is in there.
  5. I didn’t watch the actual temperature in the oven, so I ended up needing an hour to get the chicken skin crisp. You can also keep the chicken in the oven longer if you’re unsure when you’ll be serving the dish.


Serving: 316g | Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 24.2g | Fat: 20.3g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 159mg | Potassium: 294mg | Vitamin A: 1800IU | Vitamin C: 49.5mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2.7mg