Adapted from a Jacques Pépin recipe, chicken with balsamic vinegar sauce is an easy and satisfying one pot meal. There’s also a secret ingredient you might not expect (especially from someone known for French cooking). It’s…ketchup! It deepens the flavor and provides just a little hint of spice and sweetness. The balsamic vinegar adds a slightly tart, fruity tang that complements the sweetness of the ketchup and the cooked onions.
He used chicken breasts, but I find those tend to dry out (unless you’re really careful). Not to mention they’re costly, and don’t pack nearly as much flavor as chicken thighs do. So chicken thighs it is. Changing the type of chicken I used also meant altering the cooking method a bit. Instead of baking in an oven, I did a fricassee, meaning brown the chicken, add the liquid, and then let it cook on the stove top.
Chicken thighs have to cook longer than breasts do. However, doing it my way means you only need a single skillet. There’s no putting anything in the oven and no need to use two different pots (or worry if your skillet is oven safe). That also means there’s a lot less cleanup. Less cleaning up is always a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.
Two more slight twists. The original recipe called for shallots. I never have those around, and I wasn’t about to buy them for one recipe (you know how I hate that). So, I cut up some garlic and onions instead (since they’re kissing cousins so to speak). If you have shallots, or don’t mind buying them, go right ahead and use them. He also said to sprinkle the chicken with chives. I didn’t have that either, so I used some fresh rosemary.
As I type this, I’m wondering if I’m spiraling into Internet recipe comment territory: “Great recipe! I changed X, and Y, and Z, and then I didn’t follow the directions at all, but it turned out great!” Well, it did turn out great, so I guess it’s OK.
The whole thing is done in about 35 minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal when you don’t want to fuss (because you just want dinner).
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