Saw this recipe the other day on WOSU our local PBS station on an episode of Cooks Country. The recipe is for Apple Cider Chicken, which uses bone in chicken pieces, seared in a pan, where a braising sauce is then made, with the chicken then going back into the pan to finish in the oven in a kinda shallow braise allows the skin to stay super crispy and for an amazing sauce that braises the bottom half of the chicken into deliciousness. The recipe is quick to which is nice on a weeknight and was on the table in no time leaving us a nice lunch of leftovers for the next day. (I used a whole chicken the I cut into a fairly standard 10 pieces – legs, thighs, wings, and cutting each half breast in half again to give four quarters of the breast meat – all left on the bone of course).
The technique in the recipe is one that is really useful and could be used in countless other ways, using the pan to sear, sauce and bake makes for easy cleanup (something I am not very good at). The other reason the recipe sounded so good to me was to achieve the apple flavor the recipe uses apple cider, apple brandy and apple cider vinegar and we already had some Ohio cider already sitting the in fridge as well as a bottle of Ohio’s own Tom’s Foolery Apple-Jack (recently made available here in Columbus at Weiland’s - where and enthusiastic clerk pointed it out to us and didn’t take any convincing on his part to take it home).
Tom’s Foolery Apple-Jack is an apple brandy made right here in Northeastern Ohio and the stuff is small batch (they say micro batch actually as they say it would take four years to maker the amount that small batch folks make). Either way the stuff is fantastic (more fruity I would say than a calvados, but with the complexity and warmth you’d expect from a brandy) and finding out that there is another great local distiller is very exciting stuff and I am really pleased that Weiland’s down here in Columbus carries it (there aren’t too many places in Ohio to buy it – I think Weiland’s is the only place in Columbus). Hopefully the trend of creating artisan spirits continues and people will continue to support the fantastic local liquor scene.
Ok so back to the chicken. After about fifteen minutes cooking the chicken in the skillet, made the sauce by cooking the onions and scrapping up the fond from the chicken. Next in goes some garlic, thyme, cider, the brandy and some diced apples, bring it to a quick boil and the chicken goes back in and into the hot 450 degree oven that crisps the chicken even more. After the oven you finish the sauce with a bit more brandy and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. The sauce is reminiscent of a good french onion soup (but applely) and was fantastic and worthy of eating on its own with a spoon. Served it with some potatoes from the oven and some green beans that are easily prepared while the chicken is in the oven. Forgot to take a picture of the results as we started to devour it so quickly, so the top picture is courtesy of Cooks Country.