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Vinegar braised chicken

I don’t post a ton of full blown dinners here. So when I do, you can believe me it is just that awesome. Vinegar braised chicken thighs are a one pan miracle meal. And it looks as impressive as it tastes.

Vinegar braised chicken?

Yes, and don’t click away just yet. This is not chicken sitting in a full-on bath of vinegar, that would be ridiculous and gross (even for me the biggest vinegar lover ever). This is chicken braised in wine, a little dijon, some tomatoes (I used oven roasted tomatoes from the antipasto bar in my grocery store (they sell these everywhere btw), and some vinegar.

What you end up with is a succulent skin on chicken thigh, that is braised until basically fall off the bone, with a crispy skin, and a sauce that is rich with chicken fat, salty, a tiny bit sweet and has the perfect amount of acid. And I promise you, if you are an at-home cook and think your dishes fall ever so slightly flat sometimes it is almost always ACID. Everything needs a little acid for balance and vinegar fills that spot in so many savory dishes…like this one.

Where’d you get the idea?

As much as I wish I was super original here, I am not. Vinegar with chicken is a pretty common pairing. My mom used to make something similar to this with pork tenderloin as a kid. And In Paris 20 years ago (that sounds insanely long), I had a chicken dish with a vinegar reduction added to cream and a little sherry and I have yet to forget how magical that tasted.

Also somewhere along the way, I had made a beef daube – a french braised beef dish with wine, that also included vinegar, but I have no idea where that came from. But it was delicious nonetheless.

Everything goes in one pan?

I really does. And I am telling you, vinegar braised chicken couldn’t be simpler.

  • Preheat your oven and grab a pan that can go from stovetop to oven – I used a cast iron.
  • Sauté your shallots (use onions if that’s what you have)
  • throw in your sauce ingredients, tomatoes and potatoes (I used fingerling potatoes cut in half, but use whatever you have and cut them into a similar size)
  • and place your chicken thighs in and right into the oven

Not difficult at all, not a bunch of steps or prep, and cook time isn’t bad.

What about browning the chicken? Isn’t that a thing?

Yeah it is a thing, but my overwhelming laziness by the time dinner rolls around has led me see if I can’t eliminate one step. And jackpot! I found a step that can get the f— out!

Skin on chicken holds all that gorgeous fat. And honestly is there anything better than crispy chicken skin? Maybe crispy pork skin, but they are pretty damn close in awesomeness.

But as my laziness discovered, you don’t have to sear the skin first get it crispy and render that beautiful fat. Skin side up in a pan in a pretty hot oven does the trick just as well.

The hotter-than-350 oven provides you several benefits for perfect vinegar braised chicken

  • crisps the skin nicely
  • renders the fat down while cooking the meat, keeping it juicy
  • reduces and thickens the glorious sauce

All of this at the same time and your dish is done to perfection.

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Vinegar braised chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced
  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs skin on, but trim the big overhang of fatty skin
  • 8 fingerling potatoes sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3/4-1 cup of tomatoes I used roasted tomatoes, but you can def use fresh ones
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup Sherry or white wine
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar really you can use any vinegar except balsamic (too sweet)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400° F. Heat the pan over medium heat and add the two tablespoons of oil. Add the shallots and a little bit of salt, and seat out the shallots until they are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pat the chicken with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the potatoes and tomatoes to the pan to the shallots and cook for another minute. Add the mustard and stir it in. Add the sherry or wine, vinegar, and stock and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken to the pan skin side up. Place the pan in the oven and roast without a lid for about 40-50 minutes.
  4. When you take out of the oven, pull the chicken to a plate to rest. Pour all the juices from the pan into a bowl or la fat separator. Let the cooking liquid sit for a few minutes until the fat rises to the surface. Use a spoon or ladle to remove fat (our pour if using the separator). Taste the sauce. Adjust with salt or pepper. Return the sauce, shallots, potatoes, tomatoes and chicken to the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer for a couple minutes. Serve chicken, potatoes and tomatoes with plenty of sauce. And absolutely positively serve with crusty bread.

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