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"Chicken in vinegar is a bistro specialty in Lyon. The spicy, piquant sauce of vinegar, garlic and tomatoes has an assertive flavor that complements the bird well. This is good served hot as well as warm on a buffet. This chicken is cooked only on the skin, covered so the skin is crispy and the flesh is cooked by the steam." — Jacques Pépin


  • 6 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups peeled chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 2 teaspoons chopped scallions


Serves: 4


Place the chicken thighs skin-side down on your board. Make a half-inch deep cut along each side of the thigh bone of each piece. (This will help the meat to cook more quickly.) Sprinkle the thighs with half the salt and some pepper.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet. When the butter is hot, add the chicken pieces skin-side down and brown for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Turn the heat to low, cover tightly, and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm at the back of the stove or in a 160°F oven.

Add the garlic to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute. Add the wine vinegar and water, and bring to a boil, stirring to melt all the solidified juices. Boil for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the remaining salt and pepper (the sauce should be peppery). Simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken the sauce. (If the sauce separates, emulsify it by whisking in 2 tablespoons warm water.) Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the scallions and serve.