I make many variations on sweet and sour chicken thighs. The cut holds up well to the flavors, and the naturally high collagen content of the meat helps to bring the high acid and sweet ingredients together with the unctuous fats and stock to make wonderfully rich sauces. This particular recipe evolved from a Roman era fish recipe I made a few years ago when I was exploring ancient cooking. It is essentially an agrodolce, the classic Italian sweet and sour, only the ingredients we will use to get there are a little unusual. The sour element is a classic, wine vinegar. But the sweetness comes from a combination of caramelized onions and yellow raisins. Even if you think you hate raisins, I really encourage you to give this a try. After a long, slow braise in a deeply flavored broth, they do not resemble the dried little chewy bits that went in, and are instead wonderful little bursts of sweet and sour flavor plumped by cooking.
Chicken with Onions, Olives, and VinegarCourse: Uncategorized
4 Bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
2 cups chicken stock
1 large onion
½ cup yellow raisins / sultanas
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 tbsp fish sauce (Thai or Italian Colatura di Alici)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh oregano or ½ tsp dry oregano
- Preheat your oven to 300°.
- Peel, trim, and slice the onion radially.
- Brown chicken thighs in olive oil, skin-side down, in an oven-proof pan.
- Once the skin is well browned, and a good bit of fat has rendered, remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Add the sliced onions to the rendered fat, season lightly with salt and sauté over low heat until they begin to caramelize. This can take anywhere from 10 to up to 30 minutes.
- Once the onions have begun to caramelize, add the remaining ingredients and return the chicken to the pan, skin-side up.
- Bring to a simmer, then transfer to the oven to continue cooking uncovered (about 1 hour). The chicken is finished when the meat is almost falling from the bone and the internal temperature has reached at least 170°. Serve over grilled country bread with braised greens scattered with crumbly cheese, with Sardinian fregola, or try cooking orzo in the remaining broth.