french onion chicken sandwich with red wine pan sauce

French Onion Chicken Sandwich with Red Wine Pan Sauce

I realize that the title I chose for this recipe is kind of long, but I felt all of that description was necessary to give you a better idea of what exactly is going on here.

It all started with a craving for french onion soup.  The only problem was, I had this chicken to use up that I wanted to incorporate some how.  Chicken french onion soup actually sounds pretty good, but I’ve already posted two french onion soup recipes in the short time this blog has been around.  So why not somehow use the ingredients to make a sandwich..

I found a recipe over at Foxes Love Lemons for a French Onion Chicken Sandwich, and it looked pretty good.  However, I wanted to put my own spin on it, and like I said, I really wanted to make this sandwich taste like french onion soup.  Then it dawned on me, perfect thing to really take this sandwich to the next level of french onion goodness would be a red wine pan sauce.

Juicy  chicken breasts + carmelized onions + red wine pan sauce = one tasty sandwich!

french onion chicken sandwich with red wine pan sauce

This may sound like kind of a lot of work just for a sandwich, but it isn’t at all difficult, and actually takes less time than your traditional onion soup.  It’s just a matter of caramelizing some onions, cooking the chicken in the same pan, then using all of that wonderful fond (the roasty bits stuck to your pan) to make a sauce.

Deglazing a pan to make a pan sauce is just a matter of timing, and it isn’t too difficult.  You want to pour your sauce mixture into the pan while it is still hot, but take it off the heat when using alcohol so that you don’t make a fireball! That is very unlikely to happen with this recipe because we are only cooking over medium heat, but just move it to a cool burner momentarily to be on the safe side. :) Right after you pour the mixture in, use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape of some of the fond into the sauce.  You then bring it to a boil and simmer about a minute until it reduces, then add the butter.  It all only takes about 3 minutes and you’ve got this amazingly flavorful sauce, and a cleaner pan too!

french onion chicken sandwich with red wine pan sauce

One thing worth noting is the kind  of pan you use for this recipe is somewhat important. If you use a non-stick pan, you won’t get much if any fond.  A cast iron pan will react with the acids in red wine if it isn’t season really well, so it’s best to stay away from those too.  The ideal pan would be a stainless steel or copper heavy bottomed saute pan.

french onion chicken sandwich with red wine pan sauce

Its up to you if you want to pour some sauce over the sandwich or put it in a dish and dip the sandwich in like an au jus.  After all, this sandwich is kind of like a chicken version of a french dip.

french onion chicken sandwich with red wine pan sauce

french onion chicken sandwich with red wine pan sauce

Serves 4 sandwiches
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 35 minutes
Total time 40 minutes


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (pounded to 1 inch thick and cut in half to be sandwich sized)
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 slices cheese (swiss, provologne)
  • 4 buns
  • salt & pepper to taste

pan sauce

  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter


1. Preheat a large saute pan over medium. Add the oil and 1 tbs butter. Once the butter melts, add the onions and sprinkle them with sugar. Stir the onions frequently for about 20 minutes until they are nice and caramelized. When they only have a few minutes left, stir in the garlic. Remove them from the pan and cover them so they stay somewhat warm.
2. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, then put it in the same pan that the onions were in. Cook the chicken, flipping only once or twice if possible, until it is no longer pink in the middle. This should take about 10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, mix the wine, mustard and broth. Once cooked, put the chicken on plate then immediately top with cheese.
3. Take the pan off the heat before you pour the red wine mixture in, then return it to the heat. Bring it to a simmer and reduce the sauce a little (this will only take about a minute after it starts to simmer), then add a tablespoon of butter and mix until melted. Remove from heat.
4. Put the chicken on the buns and top with the caramelized onions and sauce.

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