Recipe by Francis Lam from NYT
As we were just in neighboring Brittany, where Cider rules, I thought this was a perfect recipe for this week.
1 3 to 4 lb Chicken, cut into 8 bone-in pieces
Salt and Black Pepper
3 TB Olive Oil, duck fat or chicken fat
1/2 cup Calvado or Cognac
1 1/4 cups hard Cider, preferably a yeasty French one
15 Pearl Onions, peeled (frozen is fine)
1 1/2 lb Apples
2 TB Cornstarch
5 TB Creme Fraiche
Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels, and season well with salt and pepper. Heat the fat in a large Dutch oven or deep skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Brown the chicken, in batches, if necessary, skin side down until deep golden, 6 to 8 minutes, then flip, and seas the other side until golden, another 3 minutes.
If flambeing: Make sure there is nothing flammable near or above your stove. Gently warm the Calvado in a saucepan over medium heat. When the chicken is well browned, protect your hand, and use a long kitchen match to light the liquor on fire, then carefully pour it into the chicken pan. The flame can shoot over 2 feet high, so be careful. Cook until the flame subsides.
If not flambeing: Once the chicken is browned, turn off the heat, and add the Calvado. When the sizzling subsides, turn the heat on to medium-low, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Add the cider and onions, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer.
Quickly peel and core the apples, and cut them into 1 1/2” chunks, and place them on top of the chicken. Cover the pan, and cook, checking occasionally to ensure the liquid is maintaining a gentle simmer, not boiling until the chicken is just cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the chicken, onions, and apples to a platter, and cover. Make a slurry with the cornstarch and 3 TB of cold water. Stir this into the braising liquid, and bring to a simmer for 1 minute, until thickened. Stir in the creme fraiche, and season the sauce with salt to taste, replace the chicken, onions and apples in the sauce and serve with crusty bread and a salad of arugula, with shaved radishes and fennel.