Braised Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Wine Sauce


This dish was created by Vicki Sebastiani and included in the May 2000 “Tuscan,” the magazine of Viansa’s Tuscan Club. Membership information is available at


  • 12 large boneless chicken breasts
  • 12 ounces Italian Fontina cheese
  • 12 very thin slices deli-style cooked ham (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 large onion, cut into slivers
  • 1 large onion, cut into slivers10 cloves garlic, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 -1/2 cups fresh red and/or green grapes (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut in half
  • 1-1/2 cups Arneis, or another dry white wine


Lay the chicken breasts skin side up on the counter and carefully cut a horizontal slit into the side of each chicken breast, using a thin, sharp knife (being careful not to cut all the way through the breast).

Cut the cheese into 12 pieces about the size of the chicken pocket and wrap each piece with a slice of ham. Tuck a wrapped ham and cheese bundle into each chicken pocket and close carefully with toothpicks to seal the opening. Set aside. (Can be prepared a day ahead to this point, covered and refrigerated.)

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in your largest sautŽ pan over medium heat. You may need to use two pans to accommodate the chicken, or sautŽ the chicken in batches. SautŽ the onion and garlic slivers, stirring occasionally, until they just begin to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the onions and garlic and set aside.

Sprinkle salt to taste on the stuffed chicken breasts and very lightly dust with flour. Reheat the sautŽ pan over medium heat and add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the stuffed chicken breasts and cook until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. When the chicken is lightly browned, return the sautŽed onions to the pan and stir in the grapes and the wine. Cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat.

Place the chicken on a warm serving platter and remove the toothpicks. Keep warm. Continue cooking the onion, grape and wine mixture another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is thickened. Pour the hot grape sauce over the stuffed chicken breasts and serve.

*Serves ten to twelve

Wine Pairings

Roero Arneis D.O.C., “Rivera” Paola Massa

Andrea Biasiotto Prosecco