Chicken with Cider and Apples

This is great, so simple – and uses the very best British ingredients, and what’s more it’s ready and on the table in less than half and hour – a serious boon if like me you’re often pushed for time in the evenings. I served this up with some boiled organic new potatoes tossed in butter, black pepper and sea salt and washed it down with a tart white wine, of course if you can get away with the hangover you could wash it all down with a good cider – but failing cider, white wine will do just fine.

As with all of my recipes, this’ll serve two generously.

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – Organic and totally Free range if possible
  • A good dry cider – experiment and find a local one! (Certainly don’t try this with screwcap bottle crap!)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • ½ oz Butter – just enough for frying
  • 2 Shallots
  • 2 Red Dessert Apples
  • ½ Tablespoon of light Muscovado Sugar
  • A slug of Dry Cider (probably about 150ml/5fl oz)
  • 2 Teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of Crème Fraîche
  • Salt and Black Pepper

Put the butter and oil in a good sized frying pan and heat gently, you don’t want the butter to catch and burn, while everything’s heating up peel and finely chop your 2 shallots and add them to the pan – turn up the heat to a moderate sizzle and cook them until they’re soft, stirring occasionally – while this is cooking rinse off your apples, dry them and then core and slice them – I’ve got a nifty gadget for this, but if you’ve not got a corer, then a sharp knife will do.

Add the apples to the shallots and sprinkle over the muscavado sugar, turn the heat up high and fry until everything turns a deep golden caramel colour, once you’ve got this soothing goldenness (which incidentally smells divine) remove the shallots and apples from the pan (place them under tin foil so as they don’t go cold) and then add some more oil to the pan – if you’re adding more oil let it heat up first – then throw in your chicken breasts and fry them over a fairly high heat until they’re golden, you should only really need to turn them once and this whole thing should take about 6 minutes to do… when you’re chickens on it’s way to golden get the cider in the pan and bring it to the boil.

Once boiling reduce the heat and simmer the chicken and cider uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring it all a little and turning the chicken one more time – by this time the Chicken should be cooked, although if they’re hefty breast portions you may want to check to see if the juices run clear before proceeding to the next stage – if they’re not cooked another few minutes won’t hurt on a higher heat, although don’t overdo it otherwise your chicken will dry out.

When the Chicken is cooked through throw in your Worcestershire Sauce and the Crème Fraîche, season to your own personal tastes with salt and black pepper (I personally love loads of black pepper with this to add heat to the complex sweetness of the cider) and return the shallots and apple slices to the frying pan to gently heat everything through for just a couple of minutes – don’t allow it to boil though, once it’s all heated through serve without delay.

I served this with Boiled new potatoes when I cooked it last, but it goes equally well with Jacket Potatoes with crispy skins and a dollop of sour cream.