So this morning I was up early, read my favourite foodie blogs, cleaned the house from top to bottom, shopped, walked the doggy, emailed my cousin Cheesecake, did some washing, painted a table, spoke to Rocket (who is somewhere on route driving down from Aberdeen)… all before mid-day.
Back to the tale…
I’ve written before about Keith Floyd’s chicken cooked in ale from ‘Floyd on France’ and I enjoy those types of rustic dishes. I had considered the chicken cooked in Riesling for supper, which reminds me of travelling through the Alsace region, but have eschewed it in favour of richly tasty chicken braised in cider and apples. I’ve decided to finish the dish off with a lick of cream to enrich it (I’ve tried before with crème fraîche but prefer the slight sweetness that comes from double cream against the acidity of the cider).
Apples, cider, chicken and pork are characteristic of Normandy,but Rocket was given a book on Cornish food recently and when you think about it, cream, cider, chicken and apples are all synonymous with the English west country too. So lets say this is Franglais Chicken in honour of all the happy times I’ve spent in ‘La Belle France’ and in recognition of the totally crappy time the country is currently having.
Although this can be a one pot dish served with crusty bread, I’ve added some broccoli too. I like greens and that’s all there is to it!!! I think we might have some French fries with it, we love mopping up creamy sauces with chips.
The one pot is an issue for me, because existing in two separate places means that whenever I’m in London the thing I need is in France and vice versa…this time it’s my flame-proof oven dish. So…..if ever you cook this (I really hope you do) and you have a flame proof oven dish, it makes life a lot easier but if not then you’ll just have to change pans as I have done.
To set the scene, I’m listening to Beck, Morning Phase… Please leave your comments!
Serves 3 / 4
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 or 180 degrees
6 chicken thighs – skin on at this stage
12 button shallots or onions, peeled and left whole
3 cloves, of garlic peeled and thinly sliced
12 button mushrooms cut in half
1 apple – cored and cut into chunks I’ve used Braeburn but use what you have
100g bacon lardons
2 or 3 bay leaves
4 or 5 fennel seeds
A few strands of lemon zest cut into thin strips
Some sprigs of thyme
500 ml of cider
250 ml of double cream
A little butter and flour mixed into a paste to thicken.
Salt and freshly milled white pepper.
Season the chicken thighs then brown them in a little oil and a knob of butter until they are richly golden, then remove them form the pan and set aside.(Leave the chicken in it’s skin for the cooking phase, then remove it before you serve it if you wish).
In the same pan, brown the lardons in the chicken juices, remove them and repeat with the onions, and mushrooms.
De-glaze the empty pan with the cider, bringing it up to high heat and allowing it to bubble for about 5 minutes then remove the pan form the heat.
Next, arrange the chicken, bacon, mushrooms and onions in the casserole dish, along with the cider, adding in the lemon zest, bay leaves, garlic and thyme.
Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, cover and place into the oven for about an hour.
At this stage, take the dish from the oven and carefully remove the chicken pieces, onions, mushrooms and so on – not religiously you understand, just most of them!.
Place over a low heat and add the cream to the pan, allowing it to come up to a bubble but don’t boil it.
After 3 or 4 minutes add a little of the butter and flour mixture, allow it to cook out for a couple of minutes and if the sauce now coats the back of spoon it’s ready – check the seasoning and adjust then return the chicken to the pan.
That’s it, it may sound like lots to do but actually the prep time was about 20 minutes and the oven does the rest. Big tick – supper is done and now I just have to finish the washing, open and deal with the mail, ring Maman, ring The Marmoset and then I can pour a glass of wine and sit down to some telly! and just to say…Happy Birthday Slippers!