Recipe A Day #6: Vinegar Braised Chicken and Onions

Here's another inexpensive and easy recipe with an out-of-this-world collection of flavors that makes it seem much more expensive and fancy than it really is. You'll absolutely love it.

Vinegar Braised Chicken and Onions

4 slices bacon, chopped up
2 medium-large onions, quartered or very coarsely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
2.5 lbs chicken thighs, skin on (about five or six thighs)
Black pepper and salt, to taste
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or chicken bouillon
2 bay leaves

1) Fry chopped bacon on medium-high heat in a large, deep pan until mostly crispy, set aside. Add onions to bacon drippings and saute until just beginning to brown (about 5-7 minutes). Add garlic and saute another 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside with the bacon.

2) Season chicken thighs with black pepper and salt, then fry them on medium-high heat until well-browned on both sides (about 5-7 minutes per side). Remove chicken and place with onions, garlic and bacon.

3) Add both vinegars to the pan, and bring to a boil. While heating the vinegar, deglaze the pan, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the bay leaves and chicken broth or bouillon, and then add the reserved bacon, onions and chicken thighs to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 40 minutes, or until chicken is done to your liking.

4) Serve by placing 1 or 2 chicken thighs on a platter over a bed of rice, then generously ladle extra sauce, onions and bacon from pan over the top.

Serves 4.
Recipe Notes:
1) Parts is parts: While I prefer thighs for this dish, feel free to use drumsticks or skin-on breasts, or even a small, whole, cut-up chicken. Be sure, however, that at least the majority of the chicken cuts are higher-fat/dark meat, as white meat cuts can dry out and toughen up even in a braise.

2) Fat content: You can certainly remove some of the fat and drippings that cook out of the meat during the browning step. But note my emphasis on the word can. We left the fat in, and it made for an incredibly rich and flavorful sauce once the entire recipe was done. Further, the more I learn about the satiety factor of fats, and how dietary fat is healthier for us than previously thought, the more I find myself keeping the extra fat in my recipes rather than taking it out. Readers, how do you think about this issue?

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