Poulet au Vinagre, or vinegar chicken, is a famous Paul Bocuse recipe. A genius, genius recipe. His features tomatoes, which serves as a great acidic counterpoint to the vinegar.
Before I knew that this was in fact a world-famous concept of his, I cooked up a recipe for vinegar chicken years ago, found somewhere on Pinterest when I would spend hours a day pinning other bloggers’ posts.
Because this has the right elements, this roast chicken realizes the vinegar sauce from my memory. And I’ve regularly been making vinegar-y chicken, usually served with basmati rice, ever since.
I love vinegar. And brine. Pickled, salty anything and everything. By a quick scan of the recipes I post here, that’s pretty obvious. The reason I’m telling you this? To reinforce that if you like the same flavor profiles I do, trust me, this recipe will scratch your proverbial itch for vinegar.
I recently heard from someone on a health kick who said that they started adding vinegar to chicken and other saucy, red meat-based dishes. It’s a flavor booster, much like adding spices. It seems like vinegar does something to bolster protein, almost making them taste more calorie-heavy than they actually are.
I think that’s what this sauce does. It’s one of those “magic” sauces. The honey, garlic, chicken stock, tomato paste, butter and vinegar all condense down to this perfect combination of sweet, sour, salty and garlicky. With an added emphasis on the sour. Take out the butter, and I’m pretty sure it would be just as damn good.
Alas. This blog isn’t about leaving out the butter. Not here. This place is holy ground as far as butter is concerned, and I’m planning on keeping it that way.
With this relatively simply-prepared chicken and buttered rice, you really get a taste for the sauce. You will end up spooning more and more of it over additional helpings. Or at least I do.
Do you cook any meat-based recipes that have vinegar as a secret ingredient? I’d love to hear about them!
I N G R E D I E N T S
- 1 4 to 5 lb. chicken, giblets removed
- 1 1 / 2 cups red wine vinegar
- 3 cups chicken stock or broth
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bulb garlic, plus 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 / 2 large yellow onion, small diced
- 1 stick butter, room temperature, salted or unsalted
- Lemon slices, for garnish
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 4 cups water, plus 1 cup
- Salt, as needed
- Pepper, as needed
D I R E C T I O N S
- Preheat the oven to 350*.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Pat the skin dry, including the cavity, with a paper towel.
- After an hour, sprinkle the cavity liberally with salt and pepper, and put a garlic bulb, cut in half lengthwise, in the cavity of the chicken. Truss the chicken legs with kitchen twine, and tuck the wings under the body of the chicken.
- Take 1 / 2 stick of softened butter, and rub all over the chicken. Slide your hands under the skin on either side of each breast, making sure to coat the top breast meat with the softened butter as well. Heavily sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- In the meantime, heat the red wine vinegar, tomato paste, chicken stock or broth, 1 cup water, honey, minced garlic and diced onion over simmering heat for 5 minutes or so, until reduced slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Nestle the chicken in a small pan, barely big enough to hold the chicken. Pour the sauce in the pan around the chicken (not on top of the chicken), put lemon slices down the spine of the chicken, if desired, and place in the oven. Roast the chicken for 1 hour to 1 hour & 30 minutes, until the temperature of the chicken reaches 165* or you cut the groove between the leg and the breast and the juices run clear.
- In the meantime, run the rice under cold water in a sieve for a few minutes to remove extra starch. Put the rice in a small saucepan with 4 cups water, and simmer on medium heat until al dente consistency, about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the rice cooking instructions. Strain, return the rice to the pot, and add the remaining half of the stick of butter, stirring until melted. Set aside covered with a lid to keep warm until serving.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, turning the chicken upside down to allow any remaining juices to pour out of the cavity. Carve the chicken using Julia Child’s technique (carving starts at about 26:00). Retain the lemon slices and garlic bulb for garnish on the serving platter, if desired.
- Pour the roasting pan sauce into a pourable serving dish. Serve the chicken on a platter family style alongside a serving bowl of the buttered basmati rice.