16 September 2007

Chicken with Cider and Calvados

In college, I devoured young women's magazines, and somewhere along the way clipped an extensive article about Normandy. The accompanying photos of lace curtained windows, baskets of apples and bottles of Calvados formed my ideas of what a French kitchen should be, and I saved them for years.

I also saved a handful of recipes from the same feature article. Tonight, for the first time, I made a chicken recipe I've saved for more than 20 years. This is the first time I've prepared it.

It seemed the perfect time for apples and chicken: A sunny but coolish Sunday with heavy overtones of autumn all around, from the honking of geese overhead to the red-tinged leaves on the many maples in our neighborhood.

Chicken with Cider
  • 1 3-to-4-pound chicken, cut up
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 dashes fleur de sel
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup Calvados or brandy
  • 1 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon parsley

Coat chicken with flour and brown in large skillet containing oil and butter. Place skin side down, and turn as needed to brown both sides. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour in Calvados and ignite, using a long match. Allow the liquid to burn until the flame extinguishes itself. Add cider and herbs. Bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes.

Check breasts with a meat thermometer, remove if hot enough. Legs and wings will need to cook longer. Remove the chicken from the skillet, add a bit of flour to the remaining sauce and use a whisk. Pour over the chicken.

The chicken was moist and tender. The sauce had enough apple flavor to hold my interest. But I think I will add onions and shallots to the skillet next time. The flavor was way too subtle.

I served this with green beans amandine and herbed potatoes. Wine Pairing: A white merlot.


Cora said...

Oh, Mimi! I was there with you reading the magazines, clipping pictures and recipes, and planning my life to be. I, too, have kept recipes of Chicken Calvados for years and have yet to make it, but that will change this week with your inspiration ... and the addition of onions and shallots. MMMM!

Anh said...

This is such a lovely recipe... I have never had it, but can imagine how tasty it will taste! Thanks for sharing.

Maryann said...

Mimi, This sounds delicious and perfect for Fall. May I ask you why it needs to be ignited? Wouldn't the alcohol cook off anyway?

Fiona said...

What a wonderful chicken dish, it must have been a lot of fun to put together from a recipe you have had for so long. I could almost taste it looking at the photo. Bon appetite !

Mimi said...

Cora, I wonder if we clipped the same recipes and photos?

Anh, this was fairly simple to make and to taqste - it was comforting.

Maryann, I wondered the same thing! Next time I will try it without the fire to see if there is a difference. Perhaps someone out there can answer this one...

Fiona, I figured it was now or never!

Lydia said...

I always was, and still am, a magazine junkie, but now I'm starting to give up a few of my subscriptions on ecological grounds. Every now and then, however, I can't help going to a really good bookstore and selecting a huge pile of magazines on every subject, bringing them home, and curling up with a cup of coffee and an afternoon of magazine browsing. Of course there are a few cooking magazines in the pile.

Julie said...

Terrific recipe Mimi, I can't wait to try it.

Mimi said...

Lydia, I've cut way back, too, for time and expense as well as the environment. I do buy food magazines, however, and in August, fall fashion mags.

I was thinking, Julie, that in addition to a large onion and some shallots, I might cut up a firm, tart baking apple and add that to the skillet as it simmers.

Thea LaVigna said...

Mimi, you inspire me to cook....from my Italian kitchen! Reading your blog about the comfort food you love is such a gift. thank you!

Judy said...

Thank you Mimi for next weekends dinner. That sound absolutely wonderful. I have never cooked Chicken with Calvados but I have a pork roast using Calvados that is wonderful. I am trying to cut down on my magazines and clippings but I'm not having much luck. There seems to always be some I can't live without or I keep telling myself.

Andrea said...

I am going to make this on Saturday - it sounds like the perfect early Fall dish.

I love the idea of the addition on a slice apple. Mmmmm.

cityfarmer said...

This sounds just like me 20 years ago....I've simplified since then....not so gourmet, but so tasty....


Christine said...

This looks delicious, Mimi. And so right for early fall.

Mimi said...

Thank you, Thea, and welcome to my kitchen!

Judy, I shudder to think how many clippings I have!

Andrea, I also thought that those spiced apple rings you can buy might have been good with this - or an apple onion chutney. Be generous with the herbs!

CF, this was pretty simple - I'm not so gourmet either.

Christine, I liked this - it was almost comfort food.

Jann said...

What a perfect meal.....the bottle of Calvados made the trip home in great shape! What do we do with all the recipes we have collected throughout the years? I am running out of time! I'm back in town for while, have missed your posts!

Mimi said...

Jann, are you on the road again? You are sooo lukcy! I am about due for a non-business trip!

Rachael said...

It's so wonderful you finally tried the recipe after all these years! Marvelous!

I tried making calvados (and hard cider) last year, and was suprised at how easy it was...worth a shot if you cant find any locally...

Mimi said...

What a great idea, Rachael. A few years ago, I went to a cider making party on a wet October night - since then, I have wanted to try my hand at making something.