I’ve been in Normandy this week, in the land of Camembert, cream, cider and Calvados and thought you might like the very first dish I cooked for dinner guests in Edinburgh 35 years ago.
20 minutes preparation
45 minutes cooking
2tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 chicken pieces (breasts, thighs or legs, or a mix of pieces)
A small glass of Calvados (optional)
500ml dry cider
500g button mushrooms, finely sliced
500ml double cream or creme fraiche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a heavy-based saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil with half the butter. Add the chopped onion and the chicken pieces, browning them all over.
Pour in the Calvados, if using, stir well, rubbing at the hardening cooking juices stuck on the pan to deglaze. If you like, ignite the alcohol to flambé the dish – and be careful you don’t inadvertently flamber your eyebrows if you are working on a gas flame.
If that all sounds too scary, or if you don’t have any Calvados, leaving out this step won’t spoil the dish. Add the cider, again scratching around the bottom of the pan to get all the flavoursome caramelised bits. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for around 30 minutes.
Add the cream, the mushrooms and cook for a further few minutes. Season to taste.
An appropriately Norman accompaniment would be pommes en l’air (apples peeled, cut in slices or quarters, and gently fried in butter).
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