Saturday, September 22, 2007

Poulet Au Vinaigre

This recipe dates back from the Cathar or Albigensian heresy, when the Cathars were suspected of using chickens to carry messages. The inquisitors tortured the chickens by boiling them in vinegar to try and get them to reveal who was controlling them, but none ever confessed. Then someone picked at one of the carcases afterwards and this recipe was born.

OK. So I lied.

Serve this up any way you want. With piles of fluffly mash potato laced with a few drops of truffle oil and some crunchy beans or perhaps buttery new potatoes and a cascade of cauliflower and carrots. Or just with a simple baked potato filled with chunks of chilled butter.

  • 8 chicken breasts with bone in
  • 300ml good wine vinegar
  • 800 ml sherry
  • 24 whole shallots, peeled
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp fresh tarragon
  • 4 tbsp creme fraiche

Heat the olive oil over a high heat and fry the chicken breasts four at a time until well browned all over: season with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken, turn the heat to medium and add the shallots to the pan to brown, then follow with the garlic cloves. Stir them both to brown them evenly. As soon as the garlic starts to brown, turn the heat to low, and return the chicken to the pan, adding the tarragon, vinegar and sherry. Simmer for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to the lowest possible, and allow the chicken and other ingredients to cook under cover for 45 minutes, turning the chicken pieces half way through. Remove all the ingredients, using a slotted spoon to leave behind the sauce, to a serving dish and keep warm. Remove the pan from the heat, and after 5 minutes or so cooling time stir in the creme fraiche, then pour the sauce over the chicken just before serving.

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