This is the chicken I make when I need you to correct my homework.
When I need to say sorry.
When I need to prove that English people can cook after all.
When I feel a sneaking nostalgia for the apple trees in Hereford.
This is the chicken I make when I want to win you over.
A base of bacon and onions, a generous glass of cider (and one for the cook), stolen sprigs of rosemary and a long slow simmer. Then a dash of mustard, a bit of cream and some apple slices fried in butter.
This is good, simple chicken. I hope you like it.
Apple cider chicken
serves 4 – adapted from Diana Henry’s Roast Figs, Sugar Snow
4 large chicken legs and thighs
a little olive oil
1 small onion / 2 shallots
100g bacon or lardons
2 sprigs rosemary
2 crisp apples (braeburns or fujis are good)
1-2 tbs butter
1-2 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan, When very hot, add the chicken thighs. They should sizzle. Cook a few minutes on each side, until they start to brown. Remove from pan.
In the same pan, fry the bacon and onions together until crisp and translucent, respectively. Nestle the chicken thighs on top with the rosemary, tip in the cider. Cover and turn down to a low heat to simmer for half an hour so.
Core the apples and slice into eight fat pieces. Heat some butter in a smaller pan and cook the apples until golden.
When the chicken is cooked through, the meat just falling off the leg bone, stir in the cream, mustard, salt and pepper and let simmer for five minutes to combine.
Stir in the apples at the last minute. Serve with wild rice to soak up the delicious rich sauce.