Monday, 28 October 2013

Chicken with a Chestnut & Cider Sauce

I am constantly on the quest to find new things to feed my gang.

Without a doubt their favourite meal is a Roast Chicken Dinner with all the trimmings which most importantly (from their points of view) must include roast potatoes. These have to have a crispy exterior, but fluffy on the inside.

The next on their list of favourite dinners is chicken curry! In fact chicken would probably be the main ingredient in the majority of the dishes that they enjoy eating. In this way, we're probably not that different from most families as statistics show that each year we consume a phenomenal amount of chicken per capita.

The challenge for me is to come up with new ways of cooking chicken that incorporate different flavours and ingredients.
 
The great thing about chicken is that it can easily take on so many different flavours. In my opinion, this is also the problem with chicken as it is so often served; the flavours introduced too often swamp the actual taste of the chicken meat. I am not going to get into the arguments for and against free-range versus battery-reared chicken. Yes, I tend to buy free-range chickens, but I honestly believe that people should make their own decisions and buy the best that they can afford.

The recipe that I give here uses chicken breasts, because that is what I had to hand on the day I made the dish, but it could easily be made using chicken joints. I do think that it is important to get joints that still have the skin on as this adds to the overall flavour, but if you're not a fan of skin, remove it before consuming.
 
This is a recipe that I developed using ingredients that I had in the fridge and store cupboard and if I say so myself, it was very tasty. My eldest daughter was "traumatised" by the fact that it included cider and chestnuts, but even she had to admit that it was delicious! I served it with mashed potato which was ideal for mopping up the sauce.

Ingredients:

2 tblsp of vegetable oil
large knob of butter
6 chicken breasts (skin on)
4 rashers of streaky bacon cut into this strips
50g cooked whole chestnuts, sliced
2 crisp eating apples, peeled, core and cut into wedges
500ml can of dry cider
4tblsp crème fraiche
Salt and pepper to season


Method:

1. Heat the oil and butter in a large, wide sauté pan until hot. Season the chicken breasts and add to the pan skin-side down and cook until the skin is nicely browned. Turn the chicken breasts over and add the bacon, chestnuts and apple wedges.
2. Continue to cook until the bacon, chestnuts and apples are lightly caramelized. Add the cider and allow simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Remove the lid for the last ten minutes of cooking time to allow the sauce to reduce by about a half.
3. Add the crème fraîche and stir through. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Serve.

 
Serves 6.