Rach makes a creamy dish of chicken and apples with a pan-sauce fortified by cider and a shot of brandy.
"This is delicious with warm sourdough or whole grain bread," Rach says. "If you're feeling more ambitious, serve with mashed potatoes flavored with white cheddar cheese or camembert and garlic confit or roasted garlic and warm milk, salt and white pepper."
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- 1 inch ginger, sliced
- 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- A few whole allspice berries
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- Flour, for dredging (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2 Northern Spy or Braeburn apples or other firm, tart, crisp apples, peeled and sliced, dressed with juice of ½ lemon
- 2 small yellow or white onions, sliced
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, picked and chopped
- 1 shot brandy, apple brandy or apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup chicken bone broth or stock
- ½ cup heavy cream or crème fraiche
- Warm sourdough or whole grain bread or mashed potatoes, for serving
For the chicken, cut chicken breasts into thirds: cut off thinner end, halve the remaining half horizontally. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, and butter, 2 tablespoons, brown chicken and remove to plate.
Add remaining butter and when it foams, add apples and onions, season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and thyme, cook 8 minutes to tender crisp, and remove to platter.
Deglaze pan with brandy or vinegar. Return pan to heat and add stock, cider and cream, bring to bubble, return chicken and apples and simmer 3-5 minutes to heat back through, adding a little more stock if needed to keep chicken moist. Serve chicken with bread or mashed potatoes alongside.