Chicken Braised In Apple Cider

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There is just something about apple cider (the hard stuff), in a sauce, then you have new crop apples add some great bacon and voila, a great combination! You might like to serve the braise with Colcannon** or mashed potatoes, or maybe even dumplings. The chicken can be done either on the top of the stove or in a 325 F oven, (I prefer the oven as it frees up the stove top)

Makes Approximately 4 – 6 Servings

1 chicken, cut up into 8 pieces (reserve the backbone for stock)
2 Tbsp. EVO + more if required
½ to ¾ lb. blanched, peeled small onions (cippoline or pearl onions)**
4 thickly sliced strips of bacon,** cut crosswise into ½” pieces
2 oz. Irish whiskey or Scotch
½ to ¾ cup English style apple cider**
1 cup chicken stock** or purchased low salt/no salt chicken broth
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
6 medium sized carrots, peeled, cut in half
2 medium sized apples, cored, cut into wedges
4 parsley stems
2 stalks celery, cut into 1” pieces
1 very large bay leaf
1 Tbsp. potato starch

(opt.) 2 to 3 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Garnish: chopped parsley

Heat a large skillet pan over medium heat. Add the bacon & fry until browned but not crisp. Remove & set aside. Add 2 Tbsp. EVO or a combination of EVO & butter and heat until hot but not smoking. Pat the pieces of chicken dry using paper towels, season with salt & pepper & place in the pan to brown, skin-side down (I call it presentation side) first; turn over once golden brown & brown on the other side; remove to a large plate & set aside.

If more than 2 Tbsp. oil remains in the pan spoon some out into a small bowl. Add the onions to the pan & turn in the drippings until they are slightly browned (approx. 5 minutes); deglaze the pan by adding the whiskey & reduce until hardly any liquid remains in the pan. Add the cider, chicken stock & bring to a boil; add the thyme, carrots, apples, parsley stems, celery & bay leaf, then return the chicken (except the wings & breasts) to the pan skin-side down; reduce the heat to simmer (or place in a preheated 325 F oven); cover & let simmer for 10 minutes; adding the wings & breast pieces once the 10 minutes are up; cover & simmer for 15 minutes; turn the chicken pieces over, skin-side up; cover & continue to simmer for approximately 15 more minutes or until  the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer & the carrots are cooked.

Remove the chicken to a large serving platter, placing the carrots around the chicken; keep warm in a preheated 180 F oven.

To thicken the sauce, heat the juices in the pan until hot; combine 1 Tbsp. potato starch with 2 Tbsp. apple cider; stirring in a bit at a time until you have the consistency you like; season with salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste. If the sauce is a bit too sweet for your taste, add a bit of the apple cider vinegar to taste.

**If you would like to serve the chicken with the Colcannon, please go to Colcannon.

**To blanch the onions, please go to Blanching Vegetables, or go to Whole Foods, they sell frozen ones all ready to go!

**Gelderman’s are a really good source for pork.   Please see My Source List for information.

**Merridale Cider makes very good quality apple cider as does Sea Cider.   You can find their cider at private liquor stores.

**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.

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