Sauté of Chicken Breasts with Vinegar

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

You can find a version of this classic recipe in almost any French or “continental” cookbook from the past 75 or 100 years, and with good reason: the reduction of the pan juices, a little stock, and vinegar is piquant and easy—it just tastes elegant. If you don’t like the herbs I’ve suggested, try others. And try different vinegars to see which you prefer. More pan sauces to accompany a sauté of chicken breasts are described in Simple Savory Sauces.


  • 4 skin-on boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoonsolive oil
  • 5 tablespoonsbutter
  • 3 tablespoonsfinely chopped shallots or green onions (green and white parts)
  • 1 tablespoonfinely chopped garlic
  • cupcider vinegar or red or white wine vinegar
  • cupshomemade chicken stock or your favorite canned broth
  • 1 tablespoontomato paste
  • 2 teaspoonsfinely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoonsfinely chopped fresh parsley leaves


Lightly season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a sauté pan large enough to hold the breasts in one layer, heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Place the chicken in the pan skin side down and cook until golden brown. Turn over and cook until just done, about 8 minutes. (The best way to check is to stick a small thin knife into the thickest part. Any sign of pink, and the chicken’s not ready. Try to get it out of the pan as soon as it reaches that point.) Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep it warm. (Covering the plate with foil works fine.)

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and sauté until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the vinegar and stock, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and reduce the liquid over high heat until lightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the tomato paste and any chicken juices from the platter, then take the pan off the heat and whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in the herbs and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the pan sauce around the chicken and serve immediately.