Poulet au Vinaigre (Kate's French Chicken)


2 ripe medium-sized tomatoes

150 ml dry white wine

1 chicken cut into 8 serving pieces

salt and freshly-ground pepper

2 pinches sugar

1 tbsp vegetable oil

6 tbsp tarragon vinegar

25 gm butter

6 cloves peeled garlic

150 ml heavy (double) cream or cream fraiche

1 tsp strong mustard.


Kate: When we went on our big trip when you were young, and we stayed in that converted barn in Champ de Lux, there was a French cooking recipe book there. That’s where I got this recipe from, and that night that you remember trying your first Burgundy wine, I made it. Perhaps it was to make up for our first meal, which was ‘Stone Soup’! Of course we’ve made ‘Poulet’ in many countries and for many special occasions since. But it always takes me back to that week in France, the day we went to the Cirque de Baume, and the time you’ll always remember that I forgot which way the door opened, and got stuck briefly in that telephone box. I usually double the sauce part because it’s so delicious people always seem to want more with their rice. And I usually use thighs or legs, rather than jointing a whole chicken.


1. Peel, de-seed and chop tomatoes.

2. Season chicken pieces with salt & pepper. Heat oil in a non-stick sauté pan and add butter. As soon as melted add chicken pieces and garlic cloves and cook until golden brown (10 minutes approx.).

3. Pour in vinegar and let it evaporate. Stir in wine and tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and sugar. Cook 45 minutes, stirring from time to time. (While chicken is cooking, combine cream and mustard in a small bowl).

4. Remove cooked chicken from pan and keep warm. Strain the cooking juices through a fine sieve into a saucepan, crushing the garlic to a paste. Boil over a high heat until syrupy (5 minutes approx.). Add the mustard and cream mixture and boil over a high heat for 2 minutes to produce a thick, creamy sauce. Pour over chicken and serve immediately.


Kate: I usually serve with jasmine rice and a tossed green salad.

James: I would probably double or 1.5 times the tomatoes, as you lose quite a lot of the mass when you remove the skin and seeds.