Raspberry Vinegar Chicken

Cooking meat with vinegar is a very ancient technique; the Anglo-Saxons are known to have used it. More recently, chicken with vinegar has been seen as a traditional French dish, with a Paul Bocuse recipe becoming quite popular. That one has wine vinegar and tomatoes, and I may try it some time. But right now, it’s raspberry time, and we thought the bright, zingy flavours of the vinegar and raspberries went really well with the chicken.

There’s quite a lot of butter in the original version, but my chicken gave off enough fat that I simply left a reasonably generous amount of it in the pan and omitted adding any butter. You could though, if you were using skinless chicken. Two tablespoons, likely, in that case. 

If you don’t have raspberry vinegar on hand, you can make some by mashing half a cup of raspberries and leaving them to steep in your vinegar for several hours to overnight, then straining them well (press to extract as much juice as you can) before you start cooking. And while berries are in season, make some Raspberry Vinegar in larger quantities to take you through the rest of the year.

2 to 3 servings
30 minutes prep time

1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
   OR 4 to 6 chicken thighs
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 medium shallots
6 sprigs fresh thyme OR summer savory
1/3 to 1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup 10% cream
1/4 teaspoon potato OR arrowroot starch
1 cup fresh raspberries

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces, skin-side up if there is one, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until cooked. Season with salt and pepper as they cook. Keep the pan partially covered.

Meanwhile, peel, trim, and finely slice the shallots. Strip the leaves from the sprigs of thyme or savory, and mince them finely.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a plate and cover it while you make the sauce. Add the shallots to the pan, adding a little more oil if needed (only likely if using chicken breasts) OR drain off some of the fat from cooking the chicken if there is too much. Cook the shallots until softened and translucent, and starting to brown. Add the vinegar and scrape up all the brown bits in the pan; cook until reduced about half in volume. Mix the starch into the cream and mix it into the sauce. Add the chicken back in and heat through.

Add about 2/3 of the raspberries and mix in until wilted. Transfer to a serving dish, being sure to scrape all the sauce over the chicken, and garnish with the remaining raspberries. Serve at once.

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