Monday, May 18, 2009

Chicken Normandy

The original recipe came from Fresh and Tasty Casseroles, but you can find quite a number of variations on the internet. I didn't go by the actual recipe (I rarely do ;) ) so I'll post what I actually did.

500g chicken breast fillet (roughly - mine came skin on, and so I ripped the skins off, because I don't like them)
1/2 cup flour
nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste (a few shakes, a pinch and a few grinds, respectively)
butter for sauteing (however much you need to keep the chicken from burning)
4 small apples, cored and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbs cider vinegar (note, AU tbs = 20ml, instead of 15ml for most countries, therefore 2 2/3tbs, or 3 tbs for ease of use)
1 cup apple juice
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch in the States)

Season the flour, then chop the chicken into chunks and toss in the seasoned flour. Only do enough chicken as you will saute straight away. You don't really want the chicken sitting in the flour as it may make the flour clump.
Saute the chicken in batches, and transfer to a bowl when the batch is done.
Saute the apple in the same pan, adding butter if you need it. Transfer the apple to the same bowl as the chicken, and saute the onion. Remove the onion to the same bowl, and let sit while you deglaze the pan.
Pour the vinegar and juice into the pan and let it come to a simmer. Start scraping the pan to make sure any caramelised bits get collected. When that's done, return the chicken, apple and onion to the pan, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes, checking every now and then. I had to add water at one point to prevent it from burning.
When the chicken is cooked, whisk together the sour cream and cornflour, and add to the pan. Allow to simmer and thicken, then serve.

I took a lot of photos, but for some reason they weren't on the camera when I went to upload them. Anyway, some notes on the photos...
This the apple chunks sauteing after the chicken had been removed from the pan. Notice the brown bits on the pan from where the chicken had been. Normally I don't bother dredging my chicken before sauteing it, but this time I did, and that helped thicken the sauce later on.

Apple cider vinegar, and apple juice, in their respective amounts. Ready to be added to the pan, after the onions.

The onions were the last thing to saute before adding the liquids.

It's a pity you couldn't hear the sizzle, or smell the aromas. The apples sauteing gave off a rich, sweet aroma, as did the juice. I really wasn't sure that apples would go so well with chicken, but it all disappeared, and quickly. At this point, I have scraped most of the pan, but some bits still remain.

The chicken, apples and onion had been returned to the pan, and left to simmer for ... actually I'm not sure how long I left it. Let's say 20 minutes. I actually had to quickly add water to make sure the sauce, etc, didn't burn. After this, I added the sour cream mixed with cornflour, and stirred it through. I'm not sure I would use cornflour again. I don't think it was really needed when cooking it in the pan like this. The original recipe called for baking in the oven, and implied that there would be a lot of pan juices, but in the frying pan the juices reduced quite a bit.

I served this with 'dirty' mashed potatoes. I would love to say that I also had extra steamed veges, but I didn't. I haven't been feeling well today, and didn't get around to doing them in time. And when I say 'dirty' mashed potatoes, I mean that I just boiled and mashed the potatoes with the skins on. Didn't even peel - just sliced into 1-2cm thick slices and boiled until soft. You don't need to dice the potatoes - they will cook just as evenly if you slice them only.

Well, this recipe certainly got thumbs up from everyone. It was sweet and apple-y without being too much so. (After all, it was a savoury main dish, not a sweet dessert.) Definitely going into the rotation.

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