It's rich from the brandy, and salty and smoky from the bacon - the perfect dish.
Poulet Vallée d'Auge originates from Normandy, which is known as the land of butter. I think it is one of the world's best chicken stews.
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into ½ slices
- 3 tsp + 3 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 Braeburn apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 to 12 wedges
- 4 full chicken legs, split into thighs and drumsticks
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small leek, halved and cut on a bias into 1cm rounds
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1½ tbsp (30 ml) Calvados
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup apple cider
- ½ cup chicken broth (stock)
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut on a bias into 1 cm thick rounds
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut on a bias into 1 cm thick rounds
- ¼ cup crème fraiche or full-fat sour cream
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1½ tbsp finely chopped parsley
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Cook bacon in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until crisp, 7 to 9 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a plate. Add 3 tap butter to pan drippings with apples. Cook until golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer apples to a plate and set aside.
- Increase heat to medium-high and add remaining butter. Season chicken with salt and pepper and working in batches, cook chicken until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to plate with bacon and set aside.
- Add leek and shallot to pan and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add Calvados and cook until liquid has absorbed. Return to heat, add wine, cider, broth, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add parsnips, carrots, chicken and bacon and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.