Poulet au Vinaigre (Chicken in Vinegar Sauce)

In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: One of the world's most celebrated chefs and a leader of the French "nouvelle cuisine" movement, Paul Bocuse was an icon. Bocuse's irresistible chicken, cooked with vinegar, represented two big trends of the times: big, bold flavor (from the vinegar) and a focus on overall lightness, which Bocuse championed. With just a handful of ingredients and simple directions, this is a dish we have never stopped making. This version swaps fresh tomatoes for tomato paste, uses lower-acid rice wine vinegar in place of red wine vinegar, and significantly reduces the amount of butter.

Total Time:
1 hrs
Yield:
4

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon clarified unsalted butter (see Note) or 2 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon peanut oil

  • 4 unpeeled garlic cloves

  • 1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces 

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup mild white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

  • 3/4 pound very ripe red tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 

  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat clarified butter and garlic in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high. (The skillet should be large enough to hold all the chicken pieces in 1 layer.) Cook until the sound of sizzling butter has faded, about 3 minutes. Add chicken pieces, and cook until pieces are lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes, flipping once after 3 minutes. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

  2. Add vinegar, and bring mixture to a brisk boil over medium-high; top chicken with tomatoes and parsley. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes, flipping chicken pieces after 7 minutes. Transfer chicken to a baking dish, and keep warm in preheated oven.

  3. Using a spoon, skim and discard fat from surface of vinegar mixture in skillet. Continue to cook over low, undisturbed, until reduced by one-third, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove garlic cloves; peel cloves, and mash garlic pulp into sauce with a wooden spoon until blended. Add salt to taste. Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter until creamy.

  4. Transfer chicken to a platter; pour sauce over chicken, and serve immediately.

    Poulet au Vinaigre
    One of the world’s most celebrated chefs and a leader of the French “nouvelle cuisine” movement, Paul Bocuse was an icon. Bocuse’s irresistible chicken, cooked with vinegar, represented two big trends of the times: big, bold flavor (from the vinegar) and a focus on overall lightness, which Bocuse championed. With just a handful of ingredients and simple directions, this is a dish we have never stopped making. This version swaps fresh tomatoes for tomato paste, uses lower-acid rice wine vinegar in place of red wine vinegar, and significantly reduces the amount of butter. Greg DuPree

Notes

To clarify butter, melt unsalted butter (any quantity you like—it keeps well in the refrigerator) in a saucepan over very low heat until clear. Remove pan from heat, and allow melted butter to stand for a few minutes until solids settle to bottom of pan. If there is any foam, skim it off with a spoon. Carefully pour off and reserve the clear liquid, which is clarified butter.

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