Cider: The Braise Brightener

Keep things bright with a little help from vinegar.

There’s a whole new world of opportunities for that bottle of vinegar in your pantry. Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt shares an unexpected cooking technique using vinegar.

When you think about braised meats, you probably think of deep, richly flavored stews — but things can fall a little flat if the balance of flavors isn’t right. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to keep brightness in the pot with a little help from vinegar.

Aside from adding a sharp punch, vinegar also breaks down proteins, making your stewed beef or chicken even tenderer.

In this recipe, adding vinegar gives the chicken sharpness and zing while it slowly braises alongside garlic and shallots. A low-and-slow cooking time combined with butter mellows out the harshness we typically associate with vinegar, creating a balanced, sour and sweet sauce.

Any vinegar will work, but red wine vinegar is the classic choice. If you are making this dish during apple season, make a simple thyme roasted apple compote to bring out the sweetness.

And, like with any braised dish, you’re probably going to want a side of potatoes or a nice crusty loaf of bread to soak up the delicious braising liquid you so patiently waited for.

Live.Love.Lux Tip: Achieving high heat — quickly — for searing meat on your cooktop is made simple with your Electrolux Gas Range, thanks to the Min-2-Max Burner.

Cider Vinegar Braised Chicken

"I love the richness of apple cider vinegar as it has plenty of zip with a soft sweetness from apples." -Ashley

Servings: 4

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Ingredients

3 lbs chicken thighs (skin on)

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 medium shallot, diced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

3 scallions, thinly sliced

Instructions

Generously salt and pepper the chicken thighs then set aside.

In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter in the olive oil over high heat. When the pan is hot add garlic and shallots and give a quick stir. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Sear for 5 to 7 minutes, until a deep golden crust has formed on the skin. Your shallots will char in parts and that’s totally fine. It will enhance the flavor of the finished sauce. Flip over the garlic if they appear to be getting too dark on one side.

Flip the chicken over then carefully pour in the apple cider vinegar and water. Reduce the heat so that the juices remain at a steady boil. Let the chicken cook and the sauce reduce for 15 minutes. Take the temperature of the chicken, if it hasn’t yet reached 165°F then cook for a few minutes more.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter while you finish the sauce.

Squeeze the garlic out of its papery skin into the sauce. Whisk in the butter until completely melted. If the sauce breaks, no problem, it may not be the most appetizing looking sauce but it still tastes delicious.

Pour the sauce over the chicken, then finish with the sliced scallions.

Serve with rice or potatoes and roasted broccoli or salad.

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