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.
- 4 Tbsp 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
- Flour for dredging
- 4 whole chicken legs (with thighs)
- 1 large onion, peeled, sliced lengthwise (root to top) into wedges
- 1/2 cup brandy (apple brandy or Calvados
if you have it)
- 2 cups apple cider (the cloudy type)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup cream
1 Sprinkle salt over the chicken pieces and let sit
for 20 minutes at room temperature.
2 Preheat the oven to 375°F. 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. Sprinkle the apple slices with a little salt. Set aside on
paper towels to drain.
3 Dredge the chicken in flour and place the pieces in the
sauté pan, skin side down. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter. Fry until
golden, about 3-5 minutes on medium to medium-high heat on each side.
Remove from pan and set aside.
4 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.
5 Add the brandy to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any
remaining browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the brandy boil
until it has reduced by about half. Add the cider and bring it to a
6 Sprinkle in the thyme. Add just a pinch of salt to the
cider. 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,
uncovered, for 30 minutes.
7 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.
8 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.
To serve, spoon some apples and onions on the plate, top with sauce
and a piece of chicken.