poulet saute au vinaigre

or chicken with vinegar. the recipe comes from simon hopkinson's book roast chicken and other stories. i bought it ages ago because it won some prize or other but could never understand why it became so popular. i was then firmly in the low-fat brigade and this was full of french recipes laden with butter, cream and fatty meat.

now i think the frogs, give or take a pastry or two, could teach the rest of us a great deal about both cooking and eating. half a century ago, that would have been patently obvious but we have moved on to what we, wrongly in my view, perceive to be healthier cuisines. i think this explains the rise of faux italian eating in this country. pasta is seen as healthy, therefore pasta with veg is super healthy.

anyway, i'd eyeing up this recipe for ages but was always a bit dubious about the vinegar bit. i needn't have worried. it was lovely. cooking vinegar with tomatoes makes the whole thing kind of jammy, in a good way.

for four (you can of course make a smaller quantity as i did - get your butcher to joint the chicken for you, then freeze in portions)

1.8kg chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
salt and pepper
80g butter
some olive oil
6 very ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
300ml the best quality wine vinegar
300ml good chicken stock
2 heaped tbs chopped parsley

season the joints and fry in half of the butter and some olive oil gently until golden brown on all sides. turn occasionally and don't have the heat on too high. add the chopped tomatoes and carry on frying until they are jammy and thick and dark red colour. they should lose all their moisture. pour in the vinegar and reduce by simmering until it's almost all gone. add the stock, and simmer again until it's reduced by about half.

remove the chicken to a serving plate and keep warm. whisk the rest of the butter into the sauce, add the parsley and pour over the chicken.


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