Thursday, July 21, 2011

Poulet Vallée D’Auge

I have a collection of cookbooks that my mother gave me around the time I got married. They were the ones I had seen on her old baker’s rack for years, so familiar but full of secrets. They had never been opened by my hands before. Now, I love picking one at random from my kitchen shelf, flipping through until something catches my eye, and then seeing what culinary treasures emerge.
Today, I chose 365 Ways to Cook Chicken and found myself in the midst of Chapter 5, ‘The Well-Traveled Chicken.’

“The French,” the author Cheryl Sedaker tells me, “perfected the art of chicken cookery while we were still out in the woods shooting squirrels.”

How could you not be hooked after a line like that?

Ms. Sedaker recommends 1 chicken at roughly 3 pounds, but I used 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. She also recommended Calvados or applejack, which I didn’t have on hand (honestly, I had to look up what they were!), but I substituted apple juice. The other ingredients are true to her recipe.
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 tbsp. butter
2 large tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ cup apple juice
1 cup heavy cream

In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, add chicken, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
While chicken is cooking, you have the perfect amount of time to peel and chop the apples and onion. After the chicken is browned, remove from the pan and set aside. Toss the apple and onion into the pan with the leftover chicken juice and butter. Cook, stirring often, until onion is tender, roughly 5 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan and add in apple juice. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover while it cooks for 20 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and then cover again for 10 more minutes. At the end of this time, chicken should be tender and fully cooked. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
I served this recipe over a bed of rice.

I’m guessing using an apple liquor would definitely have changed this recipe (possibly for the better), but my test run with ingredients already in my kitchen was really good. The flavor combination is definitely unique, one that will be returning to our table again.


(Click here for printable recipe)

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