Jacques Pepin was one of my early cookbook mentors. This recipe for six comes from A French Chef Cooks at Home published in 1980. I have cooked this with great success but recommend using an excellent red wine vinegar such as the beautiful mellow Mass Portell Merlot vinegar I bought at Sabato, which stocks an amazing range of gourmet vinegars.

1 Buy 6 skin-on chicken thighs, where possible free range (bone in or out to your taste). Season with salt and pepper.

2 Brown in melted sizzling butter.

3 Transfer the chicken to a baking dish. Add ¹/³ cup red wine vinegar and ¹/³ cup of water. Scrape all the pan residue into the liquid and pour over the chicken.


4 Cover with foil and place in a medium oven until the chicken thighs have cooked (at least 20 mins). Remove the chicken to a serving dish and keep warm

5 Return the liquid to the pan you cooked the chicken in. Put on the heat and add 3 peeled, sliced garlic cloves and another ¹/³ cup of red wine vinegar, and 1 tbsp of tomato paste.

6 Reduce over the heat to a sauce-like consistency, then swirl in a knob of hard butter to give it a gloss. Season with salt and pepper and add a good amount of finely chopped fresh parsley or French tarragon.

7 Pour over the chicken and serve immediately with simple vegetables, such as boiled baby potatoes and beans.

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