Your vine­gar cre­ations

Mar­i­nat­ing, ten­deris­ing, pick­ling, pre­serv­ing – there’s no end to its ver­sa­til­ity

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - With Eve O’Sul­li­van

This week’s recipes made for a re­ally sat­is­fy­ing day in the kitchen, from pick­ling and roast­ing to slow cooking and mar­i­nat­ing. For me, the theme high­lighted the sheer ver­sa­til­ity of vine­gar. It can do ev­ery­thing from adding a fresh pi­quancy to sum­mer dishes to pre­serv­ing au­tumn’s har­vest and in­ten­si­fy­ing big, bold in­gre­di­ents.

I started with a French clas­sic, chicken cooked in wine and vine­gar, from Leftover­Liz; it matched gen­tle sharp­ness with aro­matic saf­fron and a touch of luxe from the cream. Next was ElleZumbido’s earthy dip. Beet­root and bal­samic are such a bril­liant pair­ing. DeezCuli­nary’s Ja­panese cu­cum­ber salad added a zing to grilled meat, fish and rice, as did So­phie James’s pick­led pears. Spiced with mace, all­spice and bay, they were as de­li­cious with roast duck as they were with a cheese­board, and, even bet­ter, can be stored in a cool dark place for sev­eral months.

This week’s win­ner, though, packed a sweet, sour and savoury punch that’s bound to im­press pretty much any­one. Mar­madukeS­car­let used beef rib, which was beau­ti­fully soft­ened by the co­pi­ous sherry vine­gar, but a cheaper cut would work too.

Vine­gar can add fresh pi­quancy to sum­mer dishes and in­ten­sify au­tumn’s flavours


Filipino cui­sine has evolved through set­tle­ment, trader and con­quest. Malay, Chi­nese and Span­ish in­flu­ences have shaped this adobo, a rich, slow­cooked stew that melts in your mouth. Mar­madukeS­car­let, via GuardianWit­ness

Serves 4

2-3 tbsp veg­etable oil 4-6 beef short ribs 250ml chicken stock 250ml co­conut milk 180ml sherry vine­gar 180ml dark soy sauce 2 tsp light brown sugar (op­tional) 1 star anise 1 head of gar­lic, peeled (roughly 20 cloves) 2-3 bay leaves 3 bird’s eye chillies Salt and black pep­per Spring onion tops, shred­ded, to serve Steamed rice, to serve

1 Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Fry the ribs for 10 min­utes, or un­til lightly browned all over, then set aside.

2 Tip out any ex­cess oil. Add the stock and scrape up any of the caramelised sticky bits. Add the co­conut milk, vine­gar, soy sauce, sugar (if us­ing), star anise, gar­lic, bay leaves and chillies.

3 Re­turn the ribs to pan. Bring to the boil and then sim­mer, cov­ered, for about 2-3 hours, un­til the meat is ten­der. Skim any fat off the sur­face, if nec­es­sary. Sea­son to taste.

4 You can serve the ribs on the bone, but I pre­fer to strip the meat off. Re­turn the rib meat to the stew and heat through be­fore serv­ing with steamed white rice, topped with a lit­tle shred­ded spring onion.


Use this as a spread, dip or condi­ment. It pairs just as well with rye bread as it does with sim­ple greens and rice. ElleZumbido, via GuardianWit­ness

Serves 6-8

500g raw beet­root, peeled, cut into 3cm dice 3 small red onions (about 250g), halved 1 tsp car­away seeds, toasted 50g wal­nuts, toasted, plus ex­tra to serve 3 sprigs of dill, roughly chopped 70g pick­led ewe’s milk cheese (or feta), plus ex­tra to gar­nish

For the mari­nade

1 tbsp runny honey 100ml olive oil, plus ex­tra to serve 4 tbsp bal­samic vine­gar, plus ex­tra to serve Juice and zest of 1 lemon A pinch of smoked sea salt A pinch of black pep­per

1 First, make the mari­nade. Mix the honey, oil and bal­samic with the juice and zest of the lemon. Sea­son with the salt and pep­per (but go easy on the salt as the cheese is salty).

2 Put the beet­root and onions in a bowl with 6 tbsp of mari­nade. Mix well us­ing your hands. Leave for at least 2 hours.

3 Pre­heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Roast the beet­root on a bak­ing tray for 10 min­utes, add the onion and roast for a fur­ther 25-35 min­utes, un­til both are soft, but not crispy.

4 Crush the car­away seeds in a pes­tle and mor­tar. Add them along with the wal­nuts, dill, cheese and re­main­ing mari­nade to the beet­root and onion mix­ture. Blend into a smooth paste with a stick blen­der or food pro­ces­sor.

5 Top with cheese, a hand­ful of wal­nuts and a gen­er­ous driz­zle of olive oil and bal­samic vine­gar.


Claude Chabrol named his 1985 Cannes film fes­ti­val en­try af­ter this sim­ple Ly­on­nais dish – chicken cooked with vine­gar and alig­oté white wine. Leftover­Liz, via GuardianWit­ness

Serves 2-3

4-6 chicken thighs, skin­less and/or bone­less 1 onion, chopped 1 gar­lic clove, crushed 2 tbsp white wine vine­gar 300ml dry white wine (such as alig­oté) Pinch of saf­fron and/or 1 tbsp tomato puree 250ml chicken or veg­etable stock 1 bay leaf A small hand­ful of pars­ley, chopped, plus the stalks Salt and black pep­per 1 tsp Di­jon mus­tard 100ml sin­gle cream (op­tional)

1 Brown the chicken thighs in a fry­ing pan over a medium heat for around 5 min­utes. Re­move and set aside. In the same pan, fry the onion and gar­lic un­til soft­ened and golden – around 10 min­utes. Set aside with the chicken.

2 Deglaze the pan with the vine­gar, scrap­ing all the brown bits from the bot­tom of the pan, then pour in the wine and bub­ble fiercely for 5 min­utes.

3 Dis­solve the saf­fron or tomato puree in the stock, then add to the pan. Add the bay leaf, pars­ley stalks, fried onion and chicken pieces. Re­duce the heat and sim­mer for 30 min­utes.

4 When the stock has re­duced by about half, take out the chicken. Pass the sauce through a sieve, then put it back in the pan.

5 Re­heat, adding the salt and pep­per and mus­tard to sea­son. Thicken with a lit­tle cream if you want to, then place the chicken pieces back in and serve gar­nished with chopped pars­ley.


This re­fresh­ing salad has Ja­panese flavours that go well with other Asian cuisines too. Sim­ple and quick.

DeezCuli­nary, via GuardianWit­ness

Serves 2-4 as a side

1 medium cu­cum­ber, al­ter­nate strips of peel re­moved, de­seeded then cut into strips A pinch of salt 1 tbsp sesame oil 2 tbsp sesame seeds 2 tbsp vine­gar 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tsp sugar

1 Toss the cu­cum­ber and salt to­gether in a bowl to draw out ex­cess wa­ter.

2 Toast the sesame seeds in the oil in a small fry­ing pan. Set aside to cool.

3 Add the vine­gar, soy sauce and sugar to the pan. Mix it well, then pour over the cu­cum­ber. Mar­i­nate the cu­cum­ber for around 10 min­utes, then drain any ex­cess liq­uid. Serve.


Vine­gar syrup is per­fect for pears and a host of other fruit, such as crab ap­ples, plums, peaches and mel­ons. You can add what­ever spices take your fancy. Here I used bay leaves, blades of mace, all­spice berries and mus­tard seeds. Keep the pick­led fruit in the fridge for about 1 month, if pos­si­ble, be­fore eat­ing to im­prove the flavour. Phe­nom­e­nal with stil­ton or ched­dar. Lovely with lamb, ham and duck. So­phie James, via GuardianWit­ness

Makes 1 large jar

6 large firm pears, peeled, cored and cut into 8 pieces 350–450g light mus­co­v­ado sugar, or to taste 250ml white or red wine vine­gar 1 tsp whole all­spice berries 5 blades of mace or small chunk of nut­meg, or both 3 bay leaves 1 tsp mus­tard seeds

1 In a large saucepan, cover the pears with about 750ml of wa­ter, then boil for 5 min­utes. Strain off and mea­sure the liq­uid, then put 600ml back into the pan with the sugar, vine­gar and spices. Put the pears back in and sim­mer for about 20 min­utes, depend­ing on the ripeness of your fruit, un­til cooked and translu­cent.

2 Pour ev­ery­thing into a bowl and leave overnight. The next morn­ing, drain the liq­uid into a pan and boil for 5 min­utes to re­duce it slightly. Pack the pears into warm-from-the-oven, ster­ilised jars along with the spices – un­less you’re leav­ing them out. Pour over the boil­ing syrup and seal while still warm.

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