Chicken Normandy

Chicken browned and braised in apple cider and brandy, cooked with apple slices and onions, served with a cream sauce.

Chicken Normandy
Elise Bauer

The Normandy region of France, which is North of Paris and lines the English channel, is known for its cream, butter, cheeses, apples, and apple brandy.

In this version of Chicken Normandy, or "chicken à la normande", we are braising whole chicken legs in apple cider and brandy, and serving them with a sauce made with cooked apples, onions, and cream.

Just the thing for the fall.

Chicken Normandy
Elise Bauer

We're using whole chicken legs because the flavor is richer, and the dark meat holds up better to long braising. But you could just as easily use chicken breasts.

You can also serve this classic combination of apples, brandy, and cream with other proteins, such as mussels (moules à la normande) or pork.

Chicken Normandy

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 90 mins
Total Time 100 mins
Servings 4 servings

In this recipe we brown the chicken on the stovetop, then braise the chicken in the oven, and then finish on the stovetop.

You can make the whole dish on the stovetop if you wish. In step 6 just simmer the chicken on the stovetop (uncovered if skin-on, covered if using skinless chicken pieces), until cooked through and tender, 15-30 minutes. The reason to do it in the oven is to produce a crispy skin.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 2 cooking apples (Fuji or Jonagold are perfect for this dish, do NOT use a red delicious), cored and sliced into wedges (you can peel or not)

  • Flour for dredging

  • 4 whole chicken legs (with thighs)

  • Salt

  • 1 large onion, peeled, sliced lengthwise (root to top) into wedges

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) brandy (apple brandy or Calvados if you have it)

  • 2 cups (475 ml) apple cider (unfiltered)

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 cup cream

Method

  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt:

    Sprinkle salt over the chicken pieces and let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature while you prep the other ingredients and sauté the apples in the next step.

  2. Sauté apple slices:

    Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Heat 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large, oven-proof sauté pan over medium heat. Add the apple slices and sauté until they turn a little brown around the edges, turning occasionally.

    chicken-normandy-method-1
    Elise Bauer

    Sprinkle the apple slices with a little salt. Remove from pan and aside on paper towels to drain.

  3. Dredge chicken in flour, brown in pan:

    Dredge the chicken in flour and place the pieces in the sauté pan, skin side down. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter.

    chicken-normandy-method-2
    Elise Bauer
    chicken-normandy-method-3
    Elise Bauer

    Fry until golden, about 3-5 minutes on medium to medium-high heat on each side. Remove from pan and set aside.

  4. Sauté onion slices:

    Add the onions and increase the heat to medium-high. Spread the onion slices out in an even layer to cover the pan. As the onions cook they will release moisture that will help deglaze the pan of the browned bits from the chicken.

    Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, until they just being to brown, about 5-8 minutes.

    chicken-normandy-method-4
    Elise Bauer
  5. Deglaze pan with brandy:

    Add the brandy to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any remaining browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

  6. Add apple cider:

    Let the brandy boil until it has reduced by about half. Add the apple cider and bring it to a boil. Sprinkle in the thyme. Add just a pinch of salt to the cider.

    chicken-normandy-method-5
    Elise Bauer
  7. Place chicken on onions, and roast in oven:

    Arrange the chicken legs in the pan so the skin faces up and is not submerged by the cider-brandy mixture. Place in the oven and cook at 375°F (190°C), uncovered, for 30 minutes.

    chicken-normandy-method-6
    Elise Bauer
  8. Remove chicken, add apples, reduce sauce:

    Remove the pan from the oven. (Watch out for the hot handle! I like to run an ice cube over the handle as soon as I remove the pan, to help bring the handle temp down quickly and prevent a bad burn if I forget the handle is hot.) Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set aside.

    Place the pan back on a stovetop burner on high heat. Add the apples and boil down the sauce by half.

    chicken-normandy-method-8
    Elise Bauer
  9. Add cream, salt, pepper:

    When the sauce reduces to the point where it's a little syrupy, add the cream and turn down the heat. Taste for salt and add some if needed.

    chicken-normandy-method-9
    Elise Bauer

    To serve, spoon some apples and onions on the plate, top with sauce and a piece of chicken.

Links:

Poulet à la Normande from the New York Times

Normandy Guinea Fowl from Not Quite Nigella

Chicken Normandy
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
513 Calories
29g Fat
35g Carbs
18g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 513
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 16g 79%
Cholesterol 146mg 49%
Sodium 315mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 24g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 54mg 270%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 487mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.