This delicious Normandy chicken casserole has the most amazing late summer flavours - sweet and tangy and so tasty.
This dish hails from one of the most northerly counties of France - the orchards of the country where the apple harvest is abundant. Cider is the local drink so of course it's used to great effect in the cooking too. This recipe serves 4 and it's a great way to serve a whole (jointed) chicken for a great weekend lunch. If you prefer, you can use ready jointed chicken pieces. Thighs, one of the tastiest and tenderest cuts, are especially good.
- 45g (1½oz) butter
- 1.5kg (3lb) chicken, cut into portions, skin removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 shallots, peeled
- 3 sticks celery, chopped
- 300ml (½ pint) dry cider
- 300ml (½ pint) chicken stock
- 2 eating apples, quartered, cored and cut into wedges
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 5 tbsp crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp dried tarragon
- To make this chicken casserole, (opens in new tab) set the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
- Heat 30g (1oz) butter in a large, flameproof casserole dish and add the chicken. Cook over a high heat for 10 mins, until browned all over, turning as needed. Season well.
- Add the shallots and celery, and cook for a few mins. Pour in the cider and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook in the oven for 40 mins. Test the chicken by inserting a sharp knife; it is ready when the juices run clear.
- Meanwhile, heat the rest of the butter in a non-stick frying pan and add the apple wedges. Fry on both sides until lightly browned. Set aside and keep warm.
- Mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp crème fraîche, to make a smooth paste. Lift out the chicken and keep warm. Add the cornflour mixture, the remaining crème fraîche, mustard and tarragon to the casserole liquid. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 3 mins, until thickened and smooth.
- Serve the chicken topped with the sauce, shallots, celery and pan-fried apple wedges. Serve with crusty bread, if you like. Pack the cooled casserole into a container and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost before reheating.
Top Tip for making Normandy chicken casserole
Short of time? Gently simmer the casserole on top of the hob for about 25 mins instead of cooking in the oven. Stir from time to time, to stop the base from burning and check liquid levels.
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