French Chicken in Vinegar Sauce with Pepper-Spiked Polenta

This dish has been a favorite for a very long time.  The sauce has the sharp tang of vinegar which is almost reminiscent of a summertime barbecue, but it’s refined enough to serve to serve to a more formal gathering of friends.  It’s also worth noting that this is the recipe that made us fans of the rich, complex flavor of the chicken thigh.  We’ve had great luck pairing this dish with more robust red wines that can stand up to the body of the dish.  Zinfandel, and especially shiraz, have always been terrific.


  • Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 8 (3-ounce) skinned, boned chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Pepper-Spiked Polenta
  • Tarragon sprigs (optional)


Coat a large, non-stick skillet with cooking spray.  Alternatively, we’ve used our Le Creuset dutch oven, and the results have been highly pleasing.  Place over medium-high heat until hot.  Add onion, and cook for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Add chicken; saute each side 3 minutes, or until browned.

Combine wine and next 8 ingredients (wine through black pepper) in a medium bowl; stir well.  Add wine mixture; cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Serve with Pepper-Spiked Polenta.  Garnish with tarragon sprigs, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 thighs, 1/2 cup sauce, and 1 cup polenta)

This recipe was brought to us by the wonderful people of Cooking Light magazine.


One Response to French Chicken in Vinegar Sauce with Pepper-Spiked Polenta

  1. Cathy says:

    If I remember correctly, this dish also introduced us to polenta as well. A nice alternative to mashed potatoes.

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