Sunday Chicken in Fresh Tomato and Vinegar Sauce
- 3 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 unpeeled cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup good red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup good Rioja or French red wine
- 1 cup (packed) Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- Watercress for garnish
- Polenta as side dish
Set peeled tomatoes in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until mixture has broken down and has reduced to a 1 cup of puree. Pat chicken dry; salt each piece lightly. Heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add thigh and drumstick pieces and unpeeled garlic and sear in hot fat for 3 minutes a side. Add breast and wing pieces and sear those as well until golden brown, about 3 minutes a side.
Remove breast and wing pieces and continue to saute leg and thigh pieces so flesh continues to brown as it cooks, about 10 minutes, add reserved breast and wing pieces and cover. Continue to cook, over gentle heat for another 15 minutes or until juices of the chicken run clear when the thigh piece is pricked.
Remove chicken to a platter and keep it warm, loosely covered with foil. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat and add 1 tablespoon of butter (if all the fat is too dark, replace it with fresh butter). Mash garlic against the sides of the pan and skins should slide off easily; discard skins. Add vinegar, fresh cup of reduced tomato puree and red wine.
Bring liquid to a boil. Reduce it over high eat until only 1 cup remains, mashing garlic into sauce; season with 1 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove skin and fat from chicken pieces and return them to sauce and turn chicken in sauce (*recipe can be made ahead of time up until this point). Reheat chicken, over gentle heat for 4 minutes. Stir in parsley and turn the chicken over in the sauce to ensure pieces are well coated. Garnish with watercress