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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Substituting Herb Vinegar for Lemon Juice in a Chicken Recipe

I was making a Mediterranean-inspired baked chicken dish last night, the recipe for which calls for lemon juice. Maybe you recall, about a month ago I discovered that my jug of lemon juice no longer looked or smelled quite right, so it was allocated to cleaning supplies. I have yet to replace that jug.

So, thinking about pie recipes which were flavored with vinegar in the olden days, I thought maybe a variation on the vinegar would work in this recipe. I went online and found that yes, indeed, vinegar is used as a substitute for lemon juice in some instances. The cooks which suggested this often suggested half as much vinegar as a recipe would call for in lemon juice. that sounded a bit strong for me, so I went with about 1/4 to 1/3 of the amount of an herb vinegar, than what I would have used in lemon juice. This particular herb vinegar was made last summer using rosemary from my garden. The flavor was compatible with the other flavors in the dish that I was making.

The result -- it worked well. I did not taste like lemon, but it had that nice tang that lemon juice will give to a dish. In a pinch, this did work. Other substitutions which were offered for lemon juice included lime juice (of course), white wine, orange juice, and sherry. I also think that unsweetened, white grape juice might make a good substitution for lemon juice. The choice of any of these would depend on the type of dish one was modifying. And it helps to keep in mind that you are essentially creating a new dish, with new flavors, and not simply replicating the old one.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the vinegar substitution worked in the marinade for the baked chicken and the subsequent gravy.


Linda M said...

Sure sounds yummy!
Lots of people are shocked when I mention that my grandmother made an amazingly yummy pie called vinegar pie. It was my father's favorite. Grandma raised her family during the depression and also fresh fruit wasn't available often in rural areas then....thus the vinegar in place of a lemon pie. By the way, I enjoy it very much also.

Belinda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Belinda said...

That is a great tip to know, Lili. Thank you for blogging about it. I like to use vinegar to dress salads rather than use salad dressing with a lot of calories. My favorite vinegar is a pear vinegar, but I've currently used all of mine and it has been hard to find locally. I may have to find it online or better yet try to see if I can make it at home. THanks for the idea. :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds and looks yummy, Lili. Around here, we've done quite a bit of swapping of "acid"/tart ingredients in recipes, too, with good success. As you said, you don't get the SAME taste, but you can get a compatible, enjoyable taste if you swap judiciously.

Since we have one vinegar LOVER and one person in the family who doesn't tolerate vinegar well, as well as other folks who like both, be swap both directions in different situations. A do half-and-half lemon juice and vinegar in vinaigrette sometimes. We do both traditional vinegar sweet-and-sour Chinese dishes, but also a Szechuan dish that uses lemon juice instead/along with vinegar, which translates to "strange taste chicken". Different but delicious. And in jerky, we use orange juice or vinegar or apple juice, or occasionally lemon juice, depending on what's on-hand and what tastes good to us that day. :)

Have a good day, Lili! (and everyone!) Sara

Lili said...

Hi Linda,
Apparently vinegar pies were once somewhat common. You use whatever you have. Vinegar pie does sound strange to us, now, though. I'm glad to hear that it is/was liked. Have a great day, Linda.

Lili said...

Hi Belinda,
I've never heard of pear vinegar before. I'm sure there is a way to make it at home. I've made raspberry, blackberry and blueberry vinegars that we've enjoyed very much. Some of the fruity vinegars have a little bit of sugar added, and some don't. Good luck with this! It should be a fun project.

Lili said...

Hi Sara,
Oh, what a funny name for the chicken dish! That's a good compromise, it sounds, to use half lemon/half vinegar. I think especially in a salad dressing, it would lend that nice Mediterranean lemony flavor to a vinaigrette, but for a reduced cost (if you don't live where lemons grow). Thanks for your input. It sounds like you've come up with a lot of good substitutions,
Have a great day, Sara.

Anonymous said...

We've found that adding some citrus to the vinaigrette gives you a nice fresh, lighter taste, and also gives you the "bite" without the "burn", if you know what I mean. :) Sara

Alice said...

I made a Mediterranean beef Instant pot dish that used balsamic vinegar and it was very, very good. I know it was a different type of vinegar than the thread but I had to pipe in! It also had dates in it! I wasn't sure we would like it but it was a big hit.


Lili said...

Hi Alice,
that does sound delicious! Thanks for sharing.

Kris said...

Pear vinegar sounds divine! So do all of your fruit vinegars, Lili.

I love a little tang in my food, so I'm sure your swap went well, Lili.

Live and Learn said...

My son who does most of the cooking now is all the time experimenting with different acids--lemon juice, vinegar of various kinds, other juices, etc. He's doing a pretty good job with it. He has now surpassed me in the area of knowledge.

Lili said...

I have a favorite salad dressing which uses orange juice in addition to vinegar. It's especially nice on spinach or a green salad topped with baked chicken.

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,
you're living many women's dream -- having a live-in cook! Who does the cleaning up after your son cooks?

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