Chicken In Vinegar
Chicken In Vinegar Sauce is a dish better known as Poulet Au Vinaigre, which is its original name and comes from Lyon, France. It is seared seasoned Chicken with Salt & Pepper in a Tarragon Vinegar & Tomato Sauce.
Since I made this dish the first time. I have always returned to it. It’s just So Good. I am not sure why, but when I pair this with the Basil Rice Dish, it makes me feel like Spring. It’s just a nice tone to the whole dish and goes exceptionally well with Basil Rice. It’s most likely from the natural pairing of Tomatoes & Basil, which works so well together.
Typically, Chicken Quarters, but use any part of the Chicken or use the whole chicken cut into parts. Check out my post on How to Prepare Chicken. Which will show you how to clean and chop the chicken into sections.
Ensure that the Chicken is completely thawed and patted dry. Salt & Pepper the Chicken and set it aside for a bit to allow the salt to work.
Save all the trimming and excess skin so you can render the fat out in order to sear the chicken or sauté the vegetables and use within the sauce, depending on which cook method you are doing.
This is going to add a lot of flavor to the sauce. If you are using chicken pieces where there is no trimmings or excess skin, like Breasts. Previously saved Chicken or Pork Fat can be rendered. Outside that, lard or a neutral oil.
Searing the Chicken
Once the Chicken has been chopped, patted dry, and Seasoned with Salt & Pepper and the Chicken Trimmings Rendered over medium heat. Remove the crackling and either chop fine to include with the sauce or discard.
While the Pan and Fat is still hot. Lay the Chicken pieces skin side down and away from you. Give the Pan a Shake and allow to sear for about 8 minutes per side, or until golden and crisp.
Chicken In Vinegar Sauce
The Sauce is a simple combination of Tarragon Vinegar & Tomatoes.
Typically, you want the sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This is achieved by simmering the sauce and reducing until it does and a little help from a Thickener agent.
The Vinegar will lose its potency during cooking and reduction. It will still be vinegary, just not as much as it would be if added in fresh. The Acidity of the overall sauce can be reduced even further by adding cream.
Tarragon Vinegar for me at least is very hard to find. Substitute by adding 1 tsp of Ground Tarragon to the 1 Cup of Vinegar.
To make your own. Add 1/2 C Fresh Tarragon Leaves to 2 Cups of Vinegar and allow to sit out for 2 weeks to fully develop the flavor and serve as an ornament for your kitchen. Real Tarragon Vinegar in a Bottle and It looks cool. This can be used in Potato Salad and Coleslaw as well.
Other Vinegar’s can be used in place such as White Wine Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Rice Vinegar and so on.
This can come from any source using Fresh Tomatoes with seeds removed, Cherry Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Juice. It all depends on what you’re looking for or what style. In my version of it, I really like the combination of Crushed Tomatoes and Tomato Juice.
The Standard is equal amounts of Butter & Flour mixed to create a Paste also known as Beurre Manie. It’s added in to thicken the Sauce lightly. However, this can be substituted with Tomato Paste. Either one is fine and works just as well.
Aromatics may be added as well such as Onion, Garlic, Shallots, Peppers, Carrots, Celery etc…
If using aromatic then Sweat them but do not brown after searing the Chicken. You may want to remove the Pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly before adding in the Aromatics, since you don’t want to brown them.
Additional Herbs & Spices may be added to the Sauce as well to offer a variety of taste.
Chicken In Vinegar Variations
Only requiring a few ingredients, it’s quite a wonderful dish. It’s open to be interpreted in quite a few ways. In Fact, there are numerous versions of this simplistic dish.
With some recipes including Wine, Cream, Broth, Red Wine Vinegar, Mustard, Tomato Paste, Onions & Garlic with Additional Herbs like Thyme, Sage, and Rosemary.
The Key is a Vinegary Tomato Sauce with Herbs that do well with Chicken. Cream or Sour Cream may be added to adjust for the acidity.
The Sauce can also just be served on the side for Dipping pieces of chicken in. If doing it this way, then follow the simple version of a Dipping Sauce.
- Sweat Vegetables in some Fat, add Tomato Paste and mix.
- Add the Vinegar and bring to a boil, reduce by about 1/2
- Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil. Adjust for the consistency and Season.
- Pour into dipping bowls to be served with Baked Chicken.
There are two cook methods I employ depending on how many I am feeding. If it is 1–2 people, and I’m feeling fancy, I do this in a skillet. If it’s more than 2 then I use the Oven Method.
The instructions for both methods are included with the recipe in case you feel the same way too.
There are other various cook methods where half of the vinegar is poured into a pot and reduced until syrupy and then added to the chicken or all of the vinegar is added and cooked into the chicken before the tomatoes are added.
Some go straight to Sautéing the Vegetable, adding the vinegar and boiling before the remaining ingredients are added to just create the sauce that is poured over the baked Chicken.
There are all kinds of different methods employed for different reasons. The methods below is my preferred way in prepping the dish.
Chicken In Vinegar
- 1 Large Skillet or Roasting pan for the oven method
- Trim then Pat the Chicken Dry and Season the Chicken with Salt & Pepper and set aside for now.
- Render the Chicken Trimmings in a Large Skillet over Medium Heat. Include or Discard the Crackling. Choose the Stove Top or Oven Method to proceed.
Stove Top Method – Good for 2 Chicken Quarters
- Sear the Chicken until Golden Brown on both sides in the Rendered Fat, skin side first. About 8 minutes per side or more over medium heat. Set aside for now.
- Allow the pan to cool slightly and Sweat any vegetables if using, don't brown them. Add the Vinegar to the Pan with all the Chicken, skin side down, and simmer covered for 10 minutes on Medium – Medium Low Heat.
- Turn the pieces over and cook for another 10 minutes. Check that the Chicken is done by getting Clear Juices from the Chicken when pierced with a fork. Cook longer if needed. Set the Chicken aside temporarily.
- Combine the Butter and Flour into a paste and add into the pan, or use Tomato Paste. Add Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Juice and Parsley and mix well. Add the Chicken Back in.Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for an additional 10 minutes. If you added Garlic Cloves, then locate and mash them into the sauce. After 10 minutes, Degrease the Sauce if necessary. Check and Adjust the Seasoning.
- Serve the Chicken with Sauce on top and Garnish with Tarragon, Chervil and/or Parsley to Serve.
Oven Method – Good for 3 or more Chicken Quarters
- Place the Chicken and Rendered Fat into a casserole dish and Cook in the oven at 350 F for 25–30 minutes, flipping the chicken over half way. Towards the end of the Chicken cooking. Sweat vegetables, if using, in a little of the Render Fat from the Pan in a skillet before adding in the Vinegar.
- Bring the Vinegar to a boil and hold for about 3 minutes as it reduces. Then add in Tomato Paste or Butter and Flour mixed into a paste. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then add in Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Juice with Parsley. Mix and when it returns to a boil. Pour it over the Chicken and Cover the Casserole dish with Tin Foil. Back into the Oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and plate the Chicken. Make any necessary adjustments to the sauce. If it needs to be reduced more, then add it back into the Skillet and Bring to a boil to reduce more. If it's too much acid, add cream to adjust. Adjust the seasoning as well. Once the desired outcome is achieved, serve the sauce over the Chicken and Garnish.
Tarragon VinegarFor the Tarragon vinegar, I just use 1 tsp of Ground Tarragon with the Vinegar. You can add 1/2 C Fresh Tarragon to 2 Cup Vinegar and leave for 2 weeks to fully develop.
Balsamic and BasilReplace the Tarragon Vinegar with Balsamic and the Parsley with Basil as desired. Optionally place mozzarella cheese on top of Chicken Breast and Serve with Garlic Pasta or Basil Rice.
Reduce AcidityIf after reducing the Sauce, you still find it too acidic. Add cream to taste and reduce the Sauce again over medium heat until it coats the back of a spoon.
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