Braised Chicken Legs With Shallots And Vinegar 30-Mar-2012

This one goes in the Holy Cow! file – a lot of vinegary stuff in this recipe!


  • 4 large chicken legs, approximately 14 ounces each, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of [[Wikipedia:Cornichons cornichons]] in their brine, sliced a few times lengthwise.
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 12-ounce bottle hard cider
  • 1/4 cup olive oil [^probably too much for our eaters^]
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped at the last minute before serving
  • coarse kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed, wide pan (one with tight-fitting lid that is just large enough to hold all four legs comfortably) over medium heat for a full minute.

  2. Add the olive oil. The oil should streak and ripple subtly when the pan is hot enough to cook in.

  3. Add the seasoned chicken legs to the hot pan, skin side down. There should be a moderate hiss when the meat hits the pan. Don’t touch or move them for the first few minutes.

  4. Brown the chicken legs on both sides, taking care not to tear the skin when turning [^This is one reason the oil and pan need to be so hot^]

  5. Remove the browned meat to a platter. Pour off any fat from the pan and discard. Return the pan to the burner and reduce heat to low.

  6. Add the shallots to the pan and stir to prevent burning. Some of the brown bits from the pan will start to coat the shallots.

  7. Add the cornichons and their brine and continue stirring, loosening all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Adjust the heat so the liquid is simmering gently.

  8. Arrange the chicken legs in one layer in the pan, pour in the vinegar, the stock, and the hard cider, and then gently stir in and around the legs to bring everything together: shallots, cornichons, and liquids. Season to taste.

  9. Bring pan to a simmer, reduce heat and cover tightly. Allow to braise for aproximately 30 minutes.

  10. Remove the lid and check the chicken for doneness. [^the joint should be very loose and the meat separating from the bone^] Recover and continue cooking an addition 10 minutes or so to get chicken to desired doneness.

  11. Transfer to chicken legs to plates.

  12. Stir in cubes of butter and stir until melted. Spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.