America’s Test Kitchen: Pickled Chicken (Ep 2203)

Chicken in Vinegar (Chicken in Vinegar)

SERVED 4 to 6


WHY IT WORKS: Our recipe for this classic Lyon dish is to use only chicken thighs rather than the usual combination of light and dark meat to ensure all meats cook at the same speed. We browned the chicken to develop flavor, then braised it in a savory mixture of chicken broth, white wine and red wine vinegar until it reached 195 degrees and was tender and juicy. To finish the sauce, we enriched the braising liquid with tomato paste and reduced it to a luxurious, slightly thickened consistency before adding chopped fresh tarragon. The sauce is usually finished with heavy cream, but we preferred to whip in a few tablespoons of butter instead to help keep the sauce buoyant.


8 (5 to 7 ounces) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed 1 ¼ teaspoons table salt

¾ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large shallot, chopped

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup dry white wine

⅓ cup red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cooled

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

BEFORE YOU START: Use an inexpensive dry white wine here.

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat until simmering. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, without moving it, until nicely browned, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken and brown the other side, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large plate.

2. Pour in all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden, about 1 ½ minutes. Add broth, wine and vinegar; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up (the skin will be above the surface of the liquid). Transfer skillet to oven and bake, uncovered, until chicken registers 195 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes.

3. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a clean serving platter and cover with foil. Place the skillet over high heat. Whisk the tomato paste into the liquid and bring to a boil. Cook, scraping the side of the pan occasionally to incorporate the browned bits, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 1¼ cups, 5 to 7 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and tarragon. Season with salt, pepper and up to 1 additional teaspoon vinegar (add ¼ teaspoon at a time) to taste. Pour the sauce around the chicken and serve.

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Photo Credit: America’s Test Kitchen

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