Chicken in cider with apples
( SERVES 4 )
For savoury food, cider makes a great replacement for stock. This chicken dish is delightfully fragrant and makes a lovely winter meal.
I love to cook with cider and have been experimenting with various dishes. For savoury food, cider makes a great replacement for stock. It is also a perfect ingredient in sweet dishes. With apples and cider combined, there is a heightened apple flavour and aroma. I have had the best results using Old Mout’s Scrumpy, as it has a strong apple flavour – far better than that Somerset scrumpy cider of my memories. Make sure you brown the chicken well in this fragrant recipe. Braising the bird in cider makes a refreshing change from the usual wine or chicken stock flavours. Braeburn would be my apple of choice, and don’t overdo the tarragon as it is a persuasive herb that can dominate a dish.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Wipe the chicken completely dry inside and out with paper towels.
- Take a couple of pieces of string and truss the chicken, tying the legs together and the wings against the body.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and a little chopped tarragon.
- Melt the butter in the oil in a large cast-iron casserole dish on the stove top and gently brown the chicken on all sides.
- Remove to a plate while you cook the onion(chopped) in the juices left behind in the pan.
- Add the remaining tarragon with the apples(cored and quartered) and stir, allowing them to brown slightly.
- Pour in the cider and return the chicken to the pan. Allow the cider to come to a gentle boil, cover the dish and place in the oven to simmer for an hour.
- Check occasionally, basting the chicken with the juices.
- To serve, remove and carve the chicken, placing the pieces on a heated platter. Allow the apples and juices to boil to reduce if there’s too much liquid.
- Season to taste, pour over the chicken and serve.
- Accompany with carrots and fennel cooked in cider.