Bake

Garlicky Chicken With Herbs & Vinegar

March 31, 2021
5
7 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Haven’t you noticed that so many of the best chicken dishes get hit with a splash of vinegar? When I think of vinegar and chicken, (read more about this timeless combo here) my mind immediately jumps to Chicken Savoy. Though the dish is simple, it’s attracted a cult following in Essex County, New Jersey. After first debuting at Belleville’s Belmont Tavern in the 1960s, the dish has turned up on menus at red sauce restaurants all around the area. The official recipe remains a tightly-kept secret, so when I crave chicken and vinegar at home, I riff on Chicken Savoy.

I like to serve this with lots of crusty Italian bread, the finest option for mopping up the tangy pan sauce. A side of something crunchy and bitter—like barely-blanched broccoli rabe tossed with lemon juice or a salad of chicories like radicchio, treviso, and endive—work well if you’re looking for something extra. —Rebecca Firkser

Watch This Recipe
Garlicky Chicken With Herbs & Vinegar
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano or Parmesan (or a scant 1/2 cup pre-grated)
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 5 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine, chicken broth, or a mix
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • Small handful fresh oregano and/or thyme sprigs
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for serving
  • Good Italian bread, for serving
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 450ºF. Pat-dry the chicken and season well on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. If not using pre-grated, cut the cheese into a couple pieces, place in a food processor and pulse until the cheese is finely grated (or, if using pre-grated, just add the cheese to the machine). Add the garlic, anchovies if using, herbs, red pepper flakes, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Pulse until a paste forms. (This mixture can also be made by hand: Grate the cheese on the fine holes of a box grater. Finely chop the herbs and garlic before mixing with red pepper flakes and oil.) Season with a big pinch of salt and lots of pepper.
  3. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a large oven-safe (stainless steel or cast-iron work best) skillet over medium-high heat. Nestle in half the chicken parts, skin-side down. Sear the chicken until it releases from the pan naturally and is well-browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Flip the chicken and let cook for another 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a sheet pan (or plate or platter) skin-side up, then repeat with remaining chicken parts.
  4. Use a spoon or spatula to smear the cheese-herb mixture over the skin side of each chicken piece.
  5. Pour the white wine or broth, and 1 tablespoon each of the balsamic and red wine vinegars into the skillet, and use a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits stuck to the pan. Scatter sprigs of fresh oregano and thyme, then return all the chicken, still skin-side up, to the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chicken is cooked through, registering at least 165ºF on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter deep enough to hold the sauce.
  6. Scrape up any browned bits in the pan and stir in the remaining tablespoon of both vinegars. Pour pan sauce over the chicken and serve topped with parsley.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • The Cook's Tour
    The Cook's Tour
  • neesoncooking
    neesoncooking
  • marjsand
    marjsand
  • Nancy Carlson
    Nancy Carlson

7 Reviews

The C. January 14, 2022
Having lived in NJ almost all my life, and about 20 minutes from Stretch's original outpost, the Belmont Tavern, I ate there many times. Their Savoy was amazing, but many of the other dishes they served were also wonderful (the chicken crisp with super-crisp potatoes - a less vinegary version of Savoy, veal marsala, cavatelli with pot cheese - I could go on!). Eating at Stretch's was like stepping into a time machine & coming out in 1950 - grumpy waitresses, take no BS bartenders, two choices for wine - red or white, checkered tablecloths. It was great!

In the mid-90s, Stretch's son opened an outpost in Livingston (now closed), where the food was still excellent, but it didn't have that same old world charm (I saw Joe Pesci there once).

As an aside, many years later I met someone who had worked as a cook at the original Stretch's & shared the Savoy recipe. It's terrific, but it wreaks havoc on your oven given the high temp you have to bake the chicken at. Worth it!
 
[email protected] February 1, 2022
Hi The C.,
I too am a New Jersey native who ended up in Vermont. I have eaten the chicken savoy at the Belmont Tavern. An old girlfriend's father from Newark used to make a delicious version. Like an idiot I never asked him to teach me the recipe.
Over the years I've tried to recreate it without much success.
Would you please be so kind to share the recipe you got from the cook at the original Stretch's?
Thanks,
Craig
 
neesoncooking May 26, 2021
I loved the flavors!!!
I do think the spices were a nice way to bring the flavors!!
 
marjsand April 8, 2021
So gross! Way too much of each spice, and the spices did not go together.
 
Nancy C. December 13, 2020
This recipe was outstanding and will become one of my regular recipe rotations. I recommend doubling the sauce. My husband literally licked the plate dry. I was short on side dishes so I used regular white rice as a side dish to soak up those wonderful juices plus a salad. I give this recipe a solid 10! 😋
 
salena December 12, 2020
Having lived in New Jersey most of my life I couldn't figure out why Rebecca said this was a New Jersey dish until I cooked it. It smells like an Italian restaurant in New Jersey with all that garlic and oregano (do you mean to tell me that all Italian restaurants everywhere don't smell like that?). Anyway, it was delicious, easy, and looked great with all that topping. For 2 I used 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks and made all the sauce. Yum!
 
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