Thursday, February 19, 2009


I still remember when I bought the first volume of what would become a rather extensive cookbook collection. I was visiting the Coop in Harvard Square, a favorite side trip on a visit to my favorite city, Boston. It was 1982 and the book in question was Jacques Pepin's Everday Cooking with Jacques Pepin. These were pre-Food TV days, but Jacques Pepin had a cooking show and I watched it whenever I was able. For a budding culinista, preparing French-inspired food was a first step in expanding my repertoire of kitchen skills. I still have that volume, though I haven't made my favorite recipe from it--chicken liver mousse--in many years.

A few years ago I came across a recipe in the Sunday magazine section of the newspaper that was adapted from one of Jacques Pepin's classics--chicken in vinegar. It's surprisingly easy to make and the dish is always well-received. I've cut back on some of the fat and increased the herbs to make the dish healthier. I've served the chicken with everything from garlic mashed potatoes to egg noodles to plain white rice. Leftovers are delicious either reheated or eaten at room temperature.

While this is something I make for a weeknight dinner, it is elegant enough to serve for company.

Serves 4
1 frying chicken, 4-4 1/2 lbs, cut into 8 pieces
1 tsp Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
4 tbs butter, divided
1/2 cup red wine vinegar, divided
1/4 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs each chopped fresh parsley and tarragon

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tbs of the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and cook, turning often, until golden brown (10-15 minutes).

Add 1/4 cup of the vinegar and the water to the skillet and cover. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Turn pieces over halfway through cooking. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of vinegar. Increase the heat to medium high and heat to a boil, scraping up any browned bits in the skillet. Add the tomato paste, incorporating well; correct for seasoning.

Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the remaining 2 tbs butter, a teaspoon at a time. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the parsley and tarragon.

From start to finish, this fragrant chicken entree takes about 35 minutes. Promise!


  1. I've had chicken cooked in vinegar before and remember it was delicious. Thanks for reminding me about it.

    P.S. It's not too late to join the tour. We're only at the halfway point.

  2. Arlene, what an intriguing dish. Never tried chicken in vinegar before, but will now. We're eating a lot more chicken now than ever before ( Bob's got gout). So coming up with new ways to make chicken is a test. I love this recipe. I will make it this weekend. Thank you love. Hope you had a hot and steamy Valentine's day in yor romanitc cabin in the woods!

  3. Arlene I loved watching Jacques Pepin on public TV! Do your remember when he had his daughter Claudette come on and cook with him? She was two thumbs but he was so patient and good humored about it.

    I've had chicken like this is restaurants and now I'll have to try your recipe - thanks!
    I make a pork cutlet recipe with fed wine vinegar that is so delicious --I'll have to do a blog post about it the next time I make it.

  4. Of course I meant to type "red wine vinegar" lol

  5. I've never had this, but I'll bet it's really good. I used to watch Jacques Pepin on PBS many, many years ago.

  6. I loved the show Pepin did with Julia Child. This sounds like a great dish. I like the combination of vinegar and tarragon.

  7. I have to give this a try sometime. I like the idea of the vinegar in this dish.

  8. Chicken.... in vinegar? Sounds interesting. I'd love to try it!


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