This recipe is featured in Quaker Recipes in 1821 Reflected a Multitude of Cultures
Chicken is a cook’s blank canvas, responsive to the simplest or most elaborate treatments. This version, inspired by a historic recipe, is simple but can be different every time you make it, depending on the vinegar you choose.
- Servings Serves 4 to 6
- 1 whole chicken
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Oil for the pan
- 118 ml (½ cup) vinegar
- 45 ml (3 tablespoons) butter
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) flour
- 177 ml to 237 ml (¾ cup to 1 cup) buttermilk
Cut the chicken into pieces, season the skin side with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and place the chicken pieces in, skin side down. Season the other side and brown the pieces on both sides until the skin is well-browned and the pieces release from the pan. Don’t crowd the pan. As the chicken cooks, remove them from the pan.
Return all the chicken to the skillet, and add the butter and the vinegar. Cover, lower the heat, and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Sprinkle in the flour, and whisk it over medium heat to thicken. Whisk in the buttermilk, about ¼ cup at a time, to make a gravy.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and pour the gravy over the chicken and serve hot.
In her cookbook published in 1845, Quaker homesteader Elizabeth Lee offered a number of chicken recipes—fricasseed, broiled, in a pie, in a salad, in a soup with giblets, stewed with corn, even baked into an eggy Yorkshire pudding. But she always started with a whole, farmstead chicken.
Cold Chicken with Vinegar
Cut up the chicken in small pieces, and crack the bones; season with salt and pepper, put it in a deep baking plate, with a lump of butter and a tablespoonful of vinegar; cover with hot water, put a plate over, and let it stew on a stove or hot embers.