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An offbeat chicken recipe makes a distinctive party dish

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I think that braising chicken in vinegar would be a standout at the church potluck or a get-together where you will be bringing a dish. Hostesses usually appreciate a main dish, by the way, unless you have been asked beforehand to sign up for a particular course.

I have tried this recipe out on guests and they agreed that it was different and good-tasting. It has some kinship with Adobo, the chicken treatment from Southeast Asia that uses the famous sauce that is half vinegar and half soy sauce (easy to make, huh?) and is used to marinate the meat. Any meat can be done this way but I don't advise it for fish.

CHICKEN BRAISED IN VINEGAR

Ingredients:

3-4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely-chopped shallots
1-½ cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup water
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons finely-chopped parsley

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge each piece in flour. Heat the olive oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or wide, ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Arrange half the chicken in pot in a single layer and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. T ransfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook until much of the acrid aroma has dissipated, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broth and ½ cup water, bring to a low boil, and cook until it is slightly reduced, 3 to 5 minutes.

Whisk in the tomato paste and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the tomatoes, then arrange the chicken in the pot, skin side up, pouring over any accumulated juices from plate. Tuck the garlic, thyme and bay leaves into the liquid. Cover pot snugly with the lid, and transfer to the oven. Cook 1 hour, until the chicken is very tender.

Let rest 30 minutes; discard thyme and bay leaves. Scatter parsley on top and serve.

Don't use any "living" vinegar or olive oil such as Bragg's or EVOO, because the cooking will destroy its precious enzymes. Save your Bragg's Cider Vinegar and EVOO for salad dressings and garnishes.

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