Welcome to Couleur Nature’s Tasty Tuesday, a weekly feature on a French recipe—with tantalizing pictures to accompany!
Chicken Normandy, of course, comes from the French region of Normandie, famous for its cream, butter, cheeses, their exclusive Bresse chickens, and its apples! Their Calvados, or apple brandy, is especially delicious, sold everywhere from people’s cellar doors.
Calvados and apples are the key ingredients in a traditional Chicken Normandy dish, aside from the chicken. The combination of savory chicken contrasted with the tart, subtly sweet apples and smoky bacon make this such an incredible dish. And since fall is the start of the apple season, it’s the perfect time to enjoy this classic French dish!
- 6 ounces bacon slab, diced into thick cubes
- 4 chicken legs (with thighs)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup apple brandy (preferably Calvados)
- 2 cups hard apple cider
- 2 Braeburn apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
*Whole chicken legs have a richer flavor and the dark meat is perfect for long braising, although you could just as easily use chicken breasts.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Season the chicken on both sides. Dredge chicken in the flour to coat lightly, shaking off any excess.
- In a large, oven-proof sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels.
- Place the pieces in the sauté pan with the fat, skin side down. Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes to each side on medium-high heat. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Keeping the heat at medium-high, add the onions and spread them out in an even layer to cover the pan. Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize.
- Add the brandy and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it has reduced by half. Add the cider and bring it to a boil.
- Place the chicken legs in the pan so the skin faces up and is not covered in the cider-brandy mixture. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, uncovered.
- Remove the pan from the oven (Caution: the handle will be hot). Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside, covering to keep warm. Place the pan back on the stove on high heat, boiling down the sauce until reduced by half. Stir in the apples and cook until tender. Add the cream and simmer until reduced by half, then stir in the fresh thyme. Serve with the sauce spooned over the chicken.
Chicken Normandy is lovely served over rice or egg noodles, with green beans or roasted potatoes.
There’s more than one way to bring chicken to the table–try Couleur Nature’s Rooster Collection of French linens!