Trish’s French Kitchen – Normandy Chicken Casserole

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trishI am enjoying this TV show the second time round, as it was originally shown last year. Trish has a new book out “Nobody does it better” . The following is a recipe for Normandy Chicken Casserole, but of course the chicken can be substituted for pork if preferred for a more traditional Normandy Pork dish.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
75g butter
2 onions, finely chopped
6 chicken pieces (breasts, thighs or legs or a mix of pieces)
A small glass of Calvados (optional)
500ml dry cider
500g button mushrooms, finely sliced
500ml double cream or crème fraiche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy-based saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil with half the butter. Add the chopped onion and the chicken pieces, browning them all over. Pour in the Calvados, if using, at this point and stir well, rubbing at the hardened cooking juices stuck on the pan to deglaze.

Then, if you like, ignite the alcohol to flambé the dish – but be careful you don’t inadvertently flambé your eyebrows if you are working on a gas flame. If that all sounds too scary, or if you don’t have any Calvados, leaving out this step won’t spoil the dish.

Add the cider, again scratching around the bottom of the pan to get at all the flavoursome caramelised bits, and bring to a slow simmer. 

In a separate pan, heat the rest of the butter and fry the mushrooms until they render their juice. Add them to the chicken, season very lightly and cook together for around 30 minutes. I don’t pour all the mushroom juices in as I find it makes the sauce too runny, but their taste is good. Add the cream and cook for a further 10 minutes or so. Season to taste. 

If the sauce is sufficiently thick, adjust the seasoning and serve the dish like this. 

Alternatively you can spoon out the chicken and most of the mushrooms, keep them warm and reduce the sauce further by simmering it on its own for a while.

An appropriately Normandy accompaniment would be pommes en l’air (apples peeled, cut in slices or quarters, and gently fried in butter).  Fresh pasta or boiled potatoes are fine as well.

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