The word "vinegar" doesn't have the best of reputations in every circle, and adding copious amounts of it to your dinner may not sound very appealing. It makes me think of harsh flavors, of wine gone off, or something under the sink used to sanitize my cutting board.
Why would I want to serve a chicken dish "glossed" with the stuff? Because not all vinegar is made the same, and because when you cook with vinegar, its hard tones tend to disappear. It becomes pungently sweet and balanced. Such is the case with this staple from Mad Hungry, which author Lucinda Scala Quinn reports has been in her weeknight rotation "for at least 20 years."
It adds glorious depth and acidity to what would otherwise be a ho-hum sauteed chicken dinner. Reduced to a glaze all over the chicken (along with the pan juices, garlic, rosemary, and chicken stock) it becomes sticky, sweet, salty, and delicious. A bed of polenta is perfect for catching all the extra juices so they don't go anywhere but in your mouth.
- 1/2 cup best-quality red-wine vinegar
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 3 cups cooked polenta
Combine vinegar, garlic, and rosemary in small bowl and set aside. If possible, allow to sit for up to 2 hours for flavors to mingle.
Season chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy skillet over high heat until shimmering, then add chicken pieces skin-side down. If necessary, use multiple skillets or cook in batches to avoid crowding. Allow to sear without moving for 3-4 minutes, then turn pieces to brown all sides, about 10 minutes total. Drain off excess fat.
Add chicken broth and scrape up pan drippings on skillet surface. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, until broth is almost all evaporated. Add vinegar mixture and increase heat to high. Cook until vinegar has glossed chicken and almost all evaporated, 6-8 minutes. Serve with polenta.