food with sam man­ner­ing

Sure it’s colder, but it’s not quite full-on stew sea­son yet. Here’s a dish that’ll warm your cock­les with­out weigh­ing you down.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS -

I’m ex­tremely fond of this dish. For me it em­bod­ies au­tumn; we’re not quite ready for the heavy stews of win­ter and this is a lovely, lighter com­pro­mise.

I sup­pose you could call it coq au cider – it has a sim­i­lar ap­proach to coq au vin – and, like the French clas­sic, you may want to bulk it out with some mush­rooms. Use a rel­a­tively dry cider for this as you don’t want it to be too sweet – Zef­fer and Moa are both good op­tions.

The ad­van­tage of us­ing a whole chicken is that you have a lot more flavour; how­ever, for the sake of ease you may want to sub­sti­tute with bone­less chicken thigh.

This also makes an ex­cel­lent pie fill­ing. Just say­ing.

CIDER-BRAISED CHICKEN WITH AP­PLE AND BA­CON

Serves 6 / Prep time: 25 min­utes Cook time: 1 hour, 20 min­utes 1 tsp but­ter Olive oil 2 cloves gar­lic, finely chopped 1 onion, finely chopped 150g streaky ba­con or ba­con bits, roughly chopped Small hand­ful of thyme Sev­eral bay leaves 3 tbsp flour Salt and pep­per 1 chicken, cut into about 10 pieces 2 ap­ples, cored and sliced 1 litre cider Pre­heat the oven to 180C. In a large lid­ded casse­role over a mod­er­ate heat, add the but­ter and a gen­er­ous glug of olive oil and let it heat up. Fol­low with the gar­lic and onion and fry gen­tly for 5-6 min­utes un­til it is soft and translu­cent. Fol­low with the chopped ba­con and con­tinue to fry for a fur­ther 5 min­utes un­til the ba­con has started to crisp up and the fat has ren­dered down. Add the thyme and bay leaves.

Sea­son the flour with salt and pep­per and use to coat the pieces of chicken. Add a lit­tle more olive oil to the casse­role and quickly brown the chicken on all sides. Take care not to let any­thing burn.

Add the sliced ap­ple and the cider and bring up to a sim­mer. Pop the lid on and place in the oven to cook for about an hour, un­til the chicken is ten­der. You may want to re­turn the casse­role to the stove top to let the liq­uid re­duce, if you wish. Taste and sea­son ac­cord­ingly, and then serve.

“I sup­pose you could call it coq au cider – it has a sim­i­lar ap­proach to coq au vin.”

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