This dish comes from my childhood nanny, Geraldine. I can’t remember exactly how old I was when she came to live with us, but I remember feeling like Lisel from the Sound of Music (“I am 16 years old and I don’t need a governess.”) Well, I was wrong, because Geraldine (or “Chou” as we came to affectionately called each other) was for sure the BESTEST nanny and friend a girl could ever ask for.
Chou was beautiful, feisty, young, fun, funny, and there was never any hierarchy in our relationship. I talked to her about all of my pre-teen/teenage angst and she would open up to me about her life, including fun stories about the dating scene in NYC (Carrie Bradshaw would have taken notes on this chick). We played video games together, gossiped a lot, and sang often RENT at the top of our lungs (don’t judge me, it was the 90’s and RENT was all the rage, OK?)
Now that I look back, I know that had it not been for Geraldine’s influence I would have turned out to be a total hermit with minimal social skills. Just before she came to live with us, I got prescribed a full back brace for scoliosis that I had to wear 23 hours a day, every day, for 5 years (1 hour off for bathing). While I eventually got used to the physical discomfort of the contraption, the first few years felt pretty humiliating and it was agony for my self-esteem. I just wanted to hide inside my bedroom and watch “I Love Lucy” reruns 5 years passed by. But Geraldine brought me out of all of that. She took me out on the town, encouraged me to be social, and made me laugh at myself. If someone made fun of me/my brace she would help me to move past it with aplomb and forget about it.
Not only was Geraldine a totally awesome person, she also cooked amazing food. This is her recipe and it’s DELICIOUS. When I cooked it again for the first time in about 15 years, it brought me right back to that time and place (I always love how food can do that). James practically licked his plate. This chicken is excellent for dinner and if you have left overs, refrigerate and use on a lovely salad the next day. It’s a real winner, just like Geraldine.
CHOU’S VINEGAR CHICKEN
8-10 CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS
4 WHOLE GARLIC CLOVES, PEELED
1 TABLESPOON OF BUTTER
1 TABLESPOON OF SUNFLOWER OIL
⅓ CUP OF BALSAMIC VINEGAR
¼ BOTTLE OF DRY WHITE WINE
1 HEAPING TABLESPOON OF TOMATO CONCENTRATE
1 TABLESPOON OF DIJON MUSTARD
2 TABLESPOON OF HEAVY CREAM (optional)
SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
- Take your chicken out of the fridge to bring to room temp. Pat your chicken with paper towels to remove excess moisture and sprinkle all the drumsticks with a little bit of salt.
- Put some paper towels on a plate and set aside near your stovetop.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a pan over high heat, until butter has fully melted and oil is very hot.
- Once the oil is nice and hot, add the chicken and cook until the skin is crispy and the color is golden brown (but don’t let the meat cook through yet). Add the full garlic cloves towards the end of browning.
- Move the browned chicken to your plate with paper towels.
- Pour ⅓ cup of vinegar and deglaze the pan (which means take a wood spoon and scrape the bottom of the pan so you remove all the yummy crispy bits).
- Wait 5 minutes until vinegar is reduced and then put the chicken back in.
- In a bowl, combine the quarter bottle of white wine, a heaping tablespoon of tomato concentrate, and a tablespoon of dijon mustard. Mix together very well.
- Pour on top of chicken. Reduce heat to low/medium and cook for about 30 minutes or until chicken meat is cooked through.
- Turn the chicken about 10-15 minutes to make sure the chicken is cooking and coated evenly.
- About 2 minutes before your remove the chicken from the heat, you can add in the optional tablespoon of cream and mix in well.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, move the chicken to a serving platter, pour all the yummy sauce and garlic all over the chicken, and serve.