If I added up the amount of times I have used the word “Applejack” in recent posts, I’m sure it would be ridiculous. But it’s the season for deliciously boozy apple-flavored things. It’s called being festive!
So given my deep love for chicken, it only seemed natural to use both together in one fabulous dinner. I saw this recipe for chicken braised with apples, onions and Calvados in a recent issue of Food & Wine and it sounded perfect. I made it for the entree course of my harvest dinner party a few weeks ago, but I tried it out prior to the party to make sure it was sufficiently tasty.
I made it almost entirely as written though, as you might have guessed from my first paragraph, I used Applejack instead of Calvados. While I’m sure Calvados would have been amazing in there, Applejack was certainly just as delicious. I also omitted the caraway because I think it is disgusting. It’s the spice that ruins “everything” bagels — the smallest amount in my food makes me angry. Since I had some fresh thyme and sage, I used them instead — they are two herbs that get along famously with apples so it seemed like a good addition.
It was really a fabulous dish — easy to make, though it takes time for the meat to braise of course. But since it’s one of those dishes that will only get better with a night in the fridge, do what I did and make it a day ahead. Then you’ll only need to worry about preparing a side dish — preferably something to soak up the delicious sauce.
The first time I made this, I used a whole cut-up chicken as directed and felt like the breasts didn’t turn out as good as the thighs. They weren’t dry per say, but they just weren’t the best pieces — the thighs were by far my favorite. The second time I made it, I used only bone-in thighs and the meat turned out tender and full of flavor.
I also thought that the sauce needed…something…but I wasn’t sure what. I added some more salt both times but it was my husband’s suggestion of apple cider vinegar that really did the trick. A couple of splashes of Bragg (my favorite brand) and it perked things right up.
Served with farro and roasted veggies, it made for a hearty and comforting dinner!