Chicken seems to lend itself very well to easy weeknight meals no matter what pieces you happen to use. For many people, the easiest thing to do is take some boneless chicken breasts and make something from them, whether it is an easy casserole, a simple stir fry or just baking them in the oven with some potatoes or vegetables. While I like a boneless chicken breast now and then, I think you get so much more flavor out of bone-in pieces that it is worth having to wait a few extra minutes while they cook for what you get. The fact is that these pieces are often a lot cheaper than the boneless breasts anyway. Many times, I buy a whole chicken, cut it into pieces and use that for several meals. Depending on the price of the whole chicken, this can be even cheaper than buying the parts. In any case, this is one of those quick and easy weeknight recipes that can make good use of chicken parts or a cut-up chicken. I got this one from Cook’s Country for a simple yet elegant chicken with vinegar sauce.
Chicken with Vinegar Sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half crosswise, drumsticks, and/or thighs), trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of the chicken broth in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Whisk in the cider vinegar, honey and the remaining chicken broth; set the mixture aside.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until it is just smoking. Cook the chicken, skin side down, until it is well browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, skin side up.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat accumulated in the skillet and return it to medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until they are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk the broth mixture to re-distribute the cornstarch and add the mixture to the skillet, making sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. bring the mixture to a boil and return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up, along with any accumulated juices on the plate. Move the skillet to the oven and cook until the chicken breasts register 160 degrees and the drumsticks/thighs register 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and tent it loosely with aluminum foil to allow the chicken to rest while preparing the sauce. Return the skillet to medium-high heat (be careful because the skillet handle will be hot from being in the oven), bring the sauce to a boil and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter, tarragon and any accumulated juices from the platter holding the chicken into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.
The real key to this dish, in my opinion, is making sure you get good crispy skin on the chicken when you are browning it in the beginning of the recipe. If you can get that, you end up with a great looking and tasting meal. The sauce has some nice acidity to it from the vinegar but it also has great flavor from the broth and the chicken itself. The whole meal can be made in under 30 minutes, which is perfect for a weeknight dinner. I served it with some white rice and corn and it went very well. The sauce also added some great flavor to the rice.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. I still have a few Thanksgiving ideas to share, so keep checking for those. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!