Poulet a la Normande

Great for the fall season

4 tbsp butter
1/2 de-boned chicken breast per person
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 shallots diced or one medium onion
1 rib celery diced
3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 4 strips of bacon, or back bacon diced
2 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp flour
85 ml / 1/3 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup hard dry apple cider
1-2 apples peeled, cored and cut into wedges 125ml / 1/2cup heavy cream
YIELD: 4 servings
COURSE: Chicken & Other Birds
  1. Pat dry chicken pieces with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. In a large saute pan brown the chicken parts in butter over medium-high heat until golden. (about 4 min.) Remove to a separate bowl and set aside.
  3. Fry the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon to the same bowl as the browned chicken.
  4. To the same pan add the onion/shallots and celery along with the thyme leaves and cook over low heat until soft but not coloured for 5-7 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer while stirring.
  5. Then splash some brandy into the pan and stir while scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula, continue cooking until the alcohol nearly disappears.
  6. Add the flour and stir until it's combined with the fat and turns into a paste, then slowly add the chicken stock and stir until the mixture resembles a thick gravy, then pour in the apple cider and stir to combine. Return the chicken and bacon to the saute pan with 2-3 sprigs of thyme and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. While the chicken is simmering, fry the apple wedges in 2 tbsp of butter. Watch them carefully as they burn quickly.
  8. Stir the heavy cream into the saute pan and cook for 5 minutes longer uncovered. Serve with the apple wedges, and potatoes, rice or crusty bread.