Vinegar Chicken

Notes: Feeds 8. If you want to sound posh, you can refer to this recipe by its French name: poulet au vinaigre de vin. This meal can be cooked a day ahead and finished off on the day, if required (see instructions below). It can be cooked in batches if your frying pan is not big enough. If you plan to feed fewer than eight people, reduce the number of chicken thighs as appropriate, but I would advise keeping the sauce portions the same… You can't get too much of a good thing!


  • 16 chicken thighs on the bone with skin still on
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter
  • 3 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 250 ml (9 fl.oz) dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon tomato purée
  • 284 ml carton double cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard (grained looks best)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt butter in large frying pan over low to medium heat and fry chicken skin side down for 15 minutes.
  3. Add garlic cloves and continue frying for a further 10 minutes until chicken skin is nice and golden.
  4. Turn over the chicken pieces and fry for another 10 minutes on the flesh side.
  5. If there is a lot of fat left in the pan, spoon most of it out.
  6. Turn up the heat, add the vinegar and boil vigorously for a few minutes to let the chicken take up the flavour.
  7. Remove chicken from pan, add shallot and let it sweat for a few minutes.
  8. Pour in wine and stir in tomato purée, then boil vigorously until reduced by half.
  9. Pour in cream, add parsley and boil until sauce thickens slightly.
  10. Remove and discard garlic skins and squash the soft, cooked flesh into the sauce.
  11. Adjust seasoning if necessary, then return chicken to the pan and mix with the sauce.
  12. [If the meal is being cooked a day ahead, at this point remove pan from heat, cool and store contents (chicken and sauce) in fridge, then gently reheat them the following day…]
  13. Mix 2 tablespoons water with the mustard, then whisk into the sauce over a low simmer for a few seconds.
  14. Place chicken and sauce in serving dish and sprinkle on the chives.
  15. Serve with rice or boiled potatoes and veg of your choice.

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