Vinegar-Glossed Chicken

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This dish has been in heavy rotation in our home for at least 20 years. Originally made from an Italian recipe, it has morphed into our own. When the rosemary and vinegar are added to the pan of golden chicken, alchemy occurs. The vinegar deglazes the brown bits and reduces into a syrup, permeating the chicken with an agrodolce (sweet-and-sour) flavor. There’s no better accompaniment than polenta; the readily available instant kind is handy for time-pressed cooks. Rice, pasta, or bread will also work—as long as there is something to sop up the sauce. The dish is even better the day after it’s made.–Lucinda Scala Quinn

LC Just Like New Again Note

As author Lucinda Scala Quinn notes, this simple, reliable chicken dish invariably draws kudos, regardless of any of countless sides that you decide to serve alongside it. This versatility is a godsend, enabling you to rely on this recipe perhaps a little more than you ought, knowing that it seems just a little new again each time you switch up its accoutrement.

Vinegar-Glossed Chicken Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 5 M
  • Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup best-quality red-wine vinegar
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (about 1 tablespoon minced)
  • 5 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (large pieces, such as breast, should be cut in half)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth, plus more as needed

Directions

  • 1. At least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours before cooking, combine the vinegar, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl and set aside.
  • 2. Thoroughly season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat a 14-inch skillet (or two smaller skillets) over high heat and swirl in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Place the chicken in the skillet, skin side down. Don’t crowd the chicken; leave space around each piece. Work in batches if necessary. You should hear an immediate sizzle when the chicken pieces hit the pan. Don’t move them; it takes a couple of minutes to sear the chicken so it doesn’t stick. Brown all sides; this will take 10 minutes per batch. Regulate the heat so it stays high but does not burn the chicken. Place all the browned chicken back in the skillet.
  • 3. Add the chicken broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat, simmer, and reduce for 15 to 20 minutes. Increase the heat to high and pour in the vinegar mixture. Swirl the pan and stir around as the vinegar evaporates to form a simmering glaze, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight and reheat with a little extra broth.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Fran Brennan

Jan 16, 2010

We really liked this dish. It definitely fed men and boys, which is a big plus as far as I’m concerned. It was also delicious, another big plus. I did kind of wish there was more sauce in the end because the sauce was so, so tasty. But that could easily be remedied by doubling the sauce recipes. (We’re a big sauce family.) I would actually try this same dish with boneless, skinless chicken breasts when I’m pressed for time, which is just about always. I think it could be equally great that way.

Testers Choice
Karen Depp

Jan 16, 2010

If you need something to call your guests to the table, just let them inhale this enticing aroma! They won’t be able to resist. This chicken is flavorful, lovely to look at on the plate, and even better in the mouth. You won’t be disappointed. It’s an ideal recipe for a dinner party—the smooth, vibrant taste of the dish will elevate the entire evening. This red-wine vinegar infused with some garlic and fresh rosemary would be good on just about anything, and on this chicken it is perfect. There’s just enough zing to bring out the great taste of the cooked chicken that’s still juicy and moist inside while retaining some degree of crispness on the outside.

Comments
Comments
  1. Charlene says:

    Hi and thanks for sharing this recipe. I am wondering why each piece of chicken should be cut in half, specifically the smaller pieces.

    • David Leite says:

      Charlene, I checked the recipe and changed it. Simply cut only large pieces, such as breasts, in half. That direction is to assure all the pieces cook at the same time.

      • Charlene says:

        Thanks for the quick reply. That is what I assumed, but wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing something. I look forward to trying this!

    • MOMOMOM says:

      I made this tonight but used balsamic vinegar and it was quite good.

      I kept the garlic at a medium, not a fine mince and I really liked getting a bite of the marinated garlic here and there…so yum.

      I think I might prefer this with all chicken thighs. I cut the pieces small like you said but I dislike the way cutting anywhere other than the joint leaves the occasional bone shard.

      Oh final thing, I threw in a bunch of mushrooms with the vinegar at the last step. They kind of got lost in the mix.

      • Karen says:

        I, too, sometimes prefer just to use chicken thighs, for the same reason as well, as to assure everyone little body at the table that his or her brother did NOT get the best piece.

        What type mushroom did you use? I love to plunk mushrooms into dishes like this, but I sometimes find that they just don’t add much as you discovered here. GG Mora (comments below) adds anchovy which might be a better addition. Think I am going to try that next time–I’ll let you know if it changes the flavor or if it is indeed the magical finishing touch. Thanks for sharing your additions and hints!
        Karen

  2. GG Mora says:

    I have a very similar recipe that includes anchovies, which I think are an excellent addition to the flavor profile of the dish. It also gets finished with a splash of good balsamic vinegar to smooth the edges.

  3. Holly says:

    Just a question to clarify—after you make the vinegar mixture, do you marinate the chicken in it for up to 2 hours and then drain and save the marinade for after you brown the chicken? It’s not clear in the instructions. Thanks much.

    • David Leite says:

      Hi Holly, I can see how you interpreted the recipe that way. The garlic and rosemary are marinated in the vinegar and then that mixture is added to the pan during the last part cooking. I’ve edited the recipe to be clearer.

  4. artoeat says:

    Years ago I found a recipe called Hunter’s Chicken which was like yours with the addition of tomatoes. I loved to make it because the splash of vinegar changed the profile of the dish. Thanks for the reminder.

    The interview was terrific! I grew up in a household of women, and when I encountered “hormones” was mystified by their copious eating, hence our the nickname “Hoovers.” Thank you.

  5. Georgia Pellegrini says:

    Yhe vinegar glaze and the rosemary look very good.

  6. Terri Long says:

    I made this over the weekend using just chicken thighs…wow! This is a fabulous recipe, simple and absolutely delicious! I served it with creamy Parmesan polenta. If you haven’t made this yet, do it and don’t be afraid to test it out on company…it presents beautifully and they’ll love it!

    • David Leite says:

      Terri, I like the way you think. The polenta sounds great. And using thighs makes so much sense, as they’re so flavorful compared to breast meat.

  7. jr says:

    I made this recipe with using 3.5 lbs of boneless and skinless chicken thighs. It was delicious. I served it with a potato. My husband says it was very tender, tasted good, and not too messy. I have to agree with him. I love the glaze it made when it cooked down. I can taste the sweet and sour in the recipe.

    I was skeptic about the recipe but seeing that I like recipes with clear directions and few ingredients, I want to take a crack at it. It did not disappoint. Plus, if I did not get rid of the chicken soon it would have gone bad. I hate wasting food and money.

    This is a great meal for everyone. The aroma of it being made is good. And the taste of the red wine vinegar is not strong at all. This is a staple recipe in my house. It was the first time using red wine vinegar.

  8. Glory says:

    This is very similar to a dish from the Philippines called adobo…Many recipes (my family’s included) includes soy, which is what the anchovies commented on above would add – a saltiness that’s delicious with the tanginess!

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