Bold wines for an easy, quick chicken skillet dinner

Bold onions, peas and mushrooms unite with mild sauteed chicken in a quick skillet dinner. (Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

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Bold onions, peas and mushrooms unite with mild sauteed chicken in a quick skillet dinner. (Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

We love a skillet dinner — when all the elements come together in one pan. It’s easier, sure, but also the flavors of the elements enhance one another as they mingle. That’s true in this dish that unites bold onions, peas and mushrooms with mild chicken. An unexpected hit of pungent, fresh oregano finishes it. You’ll want a wine that refreshes while it also enhances, like these Old World pours.




In a skillet, sweat 1 onion, chopped, and 2 cloves garlic, minced, in 2 tablespoons olive oil until onions soften, 5 minutes. Stir in 8 ounces sliced mushrooms; season with salt. Brown mushrooms over medium-high, 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Season 4 chicken thighs with salt; cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 12 minutes. Pour in 1 cup dry white wine; simmer over low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Return onions and mushrooms to skillet; stir in 1 cup peas and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano. Cook to heat through. Makes: 2 servings

Recipe by Joe Gray


Pairings by sommelier Alan Beasey of The Purple Pig, as told to Michael Austin:

2014 Mylonas Savatiano, Attica, Greece: The flagship grape of Athens, savatiano, presents itself with aromas of white flowers, tropical fruit, mint and savory herbs. On the palate, this wine exudes a rich, medium body, with flavors of honeysuckle, white peach, candied citrus and a hint of mint that will complement the hearty, savory flavors of the dish perfectly. This is a hidden gem of Greece, and it pairs ideally with rustic, Mediterranean cuisine.

2014 de Ladoucette Pouilly-Fume, Loire Valley, France: Although this dish has Mediterranean undertones, it’s clearly French at its heart. This classic French sauvignon blanc is perfect for the dish’s bright and hearty flavors. Though matured in stainless steel, this wine spent six months on the lees, which gives it a toasty, rich quality that will elevate the chicken. Balanced with citrus, minerality and green herbs, this wine will make sweet harmony with the dish.

2015 Heitlinger Pinot Meunier, Baden, Germany: For a red, pinot noir’s big brother will work perfectly. Pinot meunier is more commonly blended with pinot noir and chardonnay to make Champagne, but this varietal wine really shows the grape’s true colors. With notes of dark cherries, sappy red fruits, forest floor, spices and cinnamon, the wine is elegant enough to work with chicken yet bold enough to enhance the flavors of the mushrooms and peas.