Recipe: Norman chicken

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, divided in halves
  • 3 apples
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 3 shallots
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • hard cider (dryer is better) sufficient to cover the chicken; say 2 cups
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • A shot of Calvados or other apple brandy
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (just like the song)

Equipment

  • Rangetop
  • Oven
  • Casserole dish
  • Skillet
  • Warming tray

Prep

Rinse and dry the chicken thighs. Generously cover them with salt and pepper.

Dice the celery and shallots.

Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples.

Set oven to 385F

Technique

Melt half of the butter in the skillet and brown the chicken thighs over medium heat. Place the chicken thighs in the casserole dish, reserving all fat. In fact just go ahead and assume "reserving all fat" is at the end of every step here.

Fry the bacon in the skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon, chop it, and put the bits in the casserole dish.

Fry the celery and shallots in the skillet and add them to the casserole dish.

Deglaze the skillet with Calvados, add flour and make a roux. Add chicken stock and simmer until the broth thickens. Add the herbs and stir them in. Pour the thickened sauce into the casserole dish.

Pour the cider into the dish until the chicken is just covered. Cover the dish and bake at 385 for 30 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 400F, uncover the dish, and cook for 30 additional minutes.

While the dish is finishing in the oven, melt the remaining half of the butter in the skillet over medium heat and fry the apple slices. When the apple slices are fully brown, reduce the heat to low until the oven is done.

Remove the casserole dish from the oven and uncover it. Pour in the heavy cream and stir.

Plate the thighs and cover them with apple slices, then spoon sauce over them.

Comments

Now that I'm in France I've been trying to work on leveling up my French cooking. I started with Norman chicken because I've always loved the mix of sage and apples.

There's probably a way to do this in a single dutch oven but I find the two-pan method here easier, even if it doubles the number of dishes.

© Weldon Goree

2019-08-13 Tue 00:00

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