Scrumpy Jack cider is one of my favourites, a taste developed since my brother in law brought me some back from the West Country following a visit to his parents. Slow cooking corn fed chicken in dry cider makes a flavourful sauce, while I generally use chicken thighs, you can use legs or chicken breast – for me the chicken must be organic corn fed. While adding the crème fraîche does balance the flavours, if preferred – substitute milk to cut down on fat though my preference would be for a low fat crème fraîche.
You can serve with rice or potatoes, but my preference is to serve this simple dish with mixed vegetables and fresh Spanish crusty bread.
English cider can be used in many dishes, my personal favourites – other than chicken – are lamb and pork.
1 tbsp light and fruity olive oil and 1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 sweet Spanish onion – peeled, halved and finely sliced
1 banana shallot – peeled and finely sliced into rings
2 to 3 cloves garlic – peeled and crushed with a pinch of sea salt, using a pestle and mortar
4 chicken thighs – skin and bone removed
1 tsp French Dijon wholegrain mustard
440 ml Scrumpy Jack cider
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 level tsp cornflour – approx. 50 to 60 ml of cold water
2 tbsp crème fraîche
Garnish – finely chopped thyme leaves
- Equipment – ovenproof casserole with lid suitable for use on the hob.
- Fry the onion and shallot in hot olive oil and butter until softened over a medium-low heat, stirring often – without browning, add the garlic and stir to combine then increase heat to medium-high and evenly brown the chicken.
- Stir in the mustard, add the cider and thyme, bring to the boil, immediately reduce heat to achieve a gentle simmer.
- Cover and cook for approx. 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
- Transfer the chicken to a roasting tin, cover with a tent of foil and keep warm in a low oven.
- Bring to the sauce to a boil, cook to reduce by about one quarter to one third (or to taste).
- Optional – to thicken the sauce, mix the cornflour and water to a smooth paste and add one teaspoonful at a time, cooking while stirring for about two minutes after each addition, continue until the sauce if to your taste.
- Remove from the hob and stir in the crème fraîche.
- Put the chicken into a serving dish and pour the sauce over the top, garnish with thyme.
- Serve with side dishes of choice.