Entertain at home: Chicken Normandy

 A hearty French casserole that pairs perfectly with Leopard's Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc.

The chicken braises slowly with bacon and cider and is finished off with caramelised apple wedges.

Serves 4

You’ll need: 8 – 10 chicken pieces (thighs & legs, bone-in & skin on); a splash of olive oil; 2 onions or 4 medium shallots, chopped; 1 celery stalk, chopped; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 200g streaky bacon, chopped (chopped bacon lardons would also work); 2 Tbsp flour; 30ml brandy (optional); 300ml dry cider; 200ml chicken stock; 2 bay leaves; 4 sprigs thyme (leaves stripped from stalk); ½ cup or 125ml crème Fraiche or thick/ double cream; 2 Tbsp butter; 2 apples such as Pink Lady, cored and cut into 8 wedges (skin on); chopped parsley to serve (optional)

How to: 

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat a large, lidded casserole dish or non-stick frying pan and add a good splash of olive oil. Season the chicken well with salt and white pepper and brown in the pan, skin side down until golden on both sides. About 8 – 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add the bacon and cook until the fat has started to render but it is not brown. About 3 minutes. Add the chopped onions and celery and sauté until translucent. About 3 – 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook briefly for about 30 seconds stirring constantly (make sure this does not burn).

Sprinkle over the flour and cook for a minute until absorbed. Add the brandy if you are using it and stir briefly. Then add the cider and bring this to a rapid bubble. Add the stock, thyme and bay leaves and cook this for a few minutes until reduced by about a third.

Add the chicken back into the pan with any juices and put on the lid and roast in the oven for 35 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and take off the lid. Spoon out the chicken and set it aside. With the casserole dish back on the stovetop, stir the crème Fraiche through the sauce and bring it to a bubble briefly. Place the chicken pieces back in the sauce with the skin side up.

Return the casserole to the oven with the lid off for a further 10 minutes.

Whilst the chicken is finishing off in the oven, heat a non-stick pan and melt the butter. Gently fry the apple slices until golden on each side.

Serve the casserole with the caramelised apple slices scattered on top with chopped parsley (optional). Serve with crusty bread to mop up the sauce (or with rice or mashed potatoes). Definitely enjoy with generous glasses of the 2020 Culinaria Chenin Blanc!

*Recipe by Sam Linsell. Sourced via Leopard’s Leap.

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