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I was flipping through an old issue ofFood + Winethis weekend, when this unassuming recipe for chicken thighs braised in apple cider vinegar caught my eye. There was no picture and very little by way of a description, but for some reason I felt compelled to make it. Despite a brief moment of fear when I thought I might end up with something resembling pickled chicken, I immediately added the ingredients to my grocery list and prepared it for dinner that same night.

Within ten minutes of being put into the oven, this chicken filled the entire house with the most amazing smells and made our stomachs grumble. It doesn’t look like much in the pot, but this is hands-down the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. Shawn agreed.

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Although the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender from braising, a few minutes under the broiler crisps the skin right back up — a trick I’ll definitely use again in the future. The cider vinegar permeates the chicken with its sweetness and gives the sauce a subtle tang that goes perfectly with sides of wild rice and steamed collard greens — go ahead and make extra sides, because you’ll want something to help sop up every last morsel of sauce.

(We’re hooked on wild rice right now but brown rice, mashed potatoes or couscous would also make great starchy sides for this meal. Also, while any green vegetable would work, the combination of collard greens and cider vinegar is a classic.)

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Apple Cider Vinegar Braised Chicken

Prep time: 10 min; Total time: 1 hour 15 min
Yield: 2 servings

  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Carrots, sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Leek, sliced
  • 1 Tbs Flour
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tbs Butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy, oven safe pot over medium-high heat (an enamel Dutch oven works best). Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and add them to the pot, skin-side down. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the skin turns a rich, golden color and begins to crisp. Remove chicken from the pot and set aside. Pour out all but 1 Tbs of the oil/fat that has cooked off.

Add the carrots, garlic, and leek to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the flour and cook for one minute. Deglaze the pot with the vinegar, scraping up any browned chicken that is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back to the pot, skin-side up.

Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Allow the chicken to braise for 50 minutes.

Heat the broiler. Remove the chicken for the pot and place on a broiler pan or heavy baking sheet. Broil for 5-6 minutes, until the skin crisps back up. Meanwhile, Place the pot back on the stove and allow it to reduce over medium heat. Stir in the butter.

To serve, spoon the sauce over the chicken thighs.