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.
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.”