On Thursday evening Alberto was working late and I had nothing planned for the evening so I decided to make us this casserole – it’s just the weather for this sort of tasty, warming thing and the cider in the casserole gives it a lovely flavour. I’ve put cider with pork sausages before but not with chicken so I thought it’d be interesting to try.
2 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 chicken thghs, skin on, per person
3 tablespoons of olive oil
25g of butter
1 large onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
1½-2 leeks, trimmed and sliced (the original recipe says celery but I’m not a fan!)
½ teaspoon of finely chopped fresh thyme
175ml of chicken stock
175ml of dry cider
1 large Cox apple, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pat the chicken thighs dry and then dip in the flour, shaking off any excess.
Heat a large saucepan for a couple of minutes over a moderately high heat. Add one tablespoon of oil then, when that is hot, add half the butter.
Place the chicken thighs in the pan, skin-side down and fry for 2-3 minutes, until the skin is nicely browned. Turn them over, turn the heat down and fry the other side for 1-2 minutes.
Remove the chicken thighs and pop on a plate. Discard the fat in the pan and wipe it clean.
Return the pan to a moderate heat and add the remaining oil and butter. Add the onion, carrot and leek and stir well.
Cover the pan and cook for five minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
Stir in the thyme and the leftover flour.
Add the chicken stock and cider, bring it to the boil and then add the sliced apples.
Turn the heat down and pop the the chicken pieces back in the pan, spooning the vegetables and apple over them.
Cover with a lid and simmer for about 35-40 minutes, turning the chicken over half way through.
You may need to add a little extra cider or chicken stock – the sauce should thicken but you don’t want it to dry out.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I served this with roasted butternut squash wedged (roasted with chilli flakes, torn up sage leaves and covered in Gran Padano cheese.) and buttered, steamed kale. lovely autumnal food.