In my not-so-new lifestyle down in the ‘burbs, a lot of chores – namely getting to and from work, washing dishes, and doing laundry – are easier than they were as a San Franciscan. I was reminded of my former life yesterday, when I dusted off my commuter bike, hauled it onto CalTrain, and pedaled around the city to attend a work event and visit with a friend who lives, naturally, at the top of a depressing hill.
I used to wake up at 5am nearly every morning to swim laps with an equally-ambitious friend before careening on said bike through morning rush hour traffic and narrowly catching the train down to Palo Alto. It was exciting and I loved it most of the time. In my 5am stupor, I’d often forget my lunch, leggings to wear under my skirt while biking, or my swimsuit. Only one of these could really deal a blow to my day, and given my love of food you can probably figure out which. Those homeless guys along Market Street have probably seen more than their fair share of my underwear collection.
Some things, though, stay the same. As I dodged sleepy drivers and potholes begging for an infusion of taxpayer dollars yesterday morning, I thought about dinner. With a giant pastured chicken defrosting in my fridge and the mouthwatering memory of a delicious chicken and vinegar dish my friend had prepared the week before, I was sold. I knew I wanted a crispy-skinned chicken redolent with vinegar, wine, and good chicken stock. My friend had tossed some figs in with her dish; I decided I’d use prunes and soak them in wine so they’d break down and thicken the pan sauce with their jammy sweetness. Pancetta seemed necessary to provide a crunchy and salty component, but with its porky goodness it’s rarely out of place.
I can’t say enough good things about my take on vinegar chicken, with due credit to my friend Amy and her recipe source for the original inspiration. With the addition of a bit of cream at the end, the sauce is elevated from ordinary to extra-special so don’t go all diet-crazy and leave it out.