I'm a big fan of chef Hugh Acheson, and in his new cookbook A New Turn in the South he explores his combination of classic French techniques with all things Southern. Cane vinegar, which is made from sugar cane, is one of his favorite pantry ingredients for adding a malty, sweet-and-sour tang. If you can’t find cane vinegar, you can substitute malt or cider vinegar - but try to locate to locate cane vinegar. It is easier to find in Asian grocery stores, as it is a staple in Philippino cooking.
Cane Vinegar Chicken Thighs with Pearl Onions, Orange, and Spinach
- 4 chicken thighs, each weighing about 5 to 6 ounces (total of 2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorn
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 16 pearl onions, peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 cup cane vinegar
- 1 cup organic low sodium chicken stock
- 2 large navel oranges, separated into slices with membrane removed
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups cleaned spinach (stems removed)
Season the thighs with the salt and pepper.
In a wide and heavy bottomed pot that has a lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the thighs, skin side down and let them sit in that pan WITHOUT moving them around for 7 minutes. You are encouraging good caramelization of that skin and developing a ton of flavor in the process. After 7 minutes turn the thighs over and add the onions, paprika, and garlic to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the vinegar, careful not to let it flame up.
This is a good time to get a spatula and loosen up all of those pan drippings. The vinegar needs to cook down by half, and when it does, add the stock. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes over low heat and then remove lid, adding oranges, mint, and spinach. Stir lightly and serve immediately.
If you'd like to see a video of his appearance on the Today Show, click here.
I can't get the video to embed in this post.