It's A Keeper (barely): Apple Cider Chicken

Rachael prepared this menu for Morgan Freeman on her talk show: Apple Cider Chicken, Creamy Dijon Smashed Potatoes and a Watercress Endive Salad. I had to make a few changes, since we don't really eat potatoes and they never have watercress at my grocery store. I substituted a spring greens mix for the watercress.

I have to say that this one is barely a keeper. It was almost a Yum, But Not Yum-o, which is the category I use for meals that I like but don't love. However, my husband fought vehemently for the It's a Keeper label, since he thought this dish was outstanding.

This meal isn't advertised as a 30 minute meal, since there is a good deal of time where all the stuff simmers together. I think it was just a bit too cidery for me, but maybe it was psychological from adding so much apple cider vinegar. Whatever it was, I liked it and my husband loved it. Try it for yourself and tell me what you think!

Here is the recipe with my comments in brackets:

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 whole chicken breasts, 4 halves, bone-in and skin on [Ummm, I am just not into chicken skin. I know it makes it taste better, but I have issues with it, so I went with skinless, boneless chicken breasts.]
Salt and pepper
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced [Since I cut the recipe in half, I used two small ones.]
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, 7-8 sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped
3 tablespoons honey (eyeball it)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup plus apple cider vinegar [Doesn't that seem like a lot? Is it just me?]
2 cups chicken stock

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. [Yes, I just made this recipe so I could use my Le Crueset.] Add a couple tablespoons of EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and add to the hot oil, skin side down. Brown chicken, about 5 minutes per side. [Don't worry about cooking it all the way through at this point, since you will be adding it back into the liquid to finish cooking later.] Remove and reserve. Add another 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, the onions, thyme, honey and the garlic. Season the onions with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently for about 20-30 minutes or until the onions are really brown.

Add cider vinegar, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock and bring up to a bubble.

Once at a simmer, return the chicken to the pot with the liquid and onions. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, flipping the chicken over in the sauce about halfway through. Remove lid, check to make sure the chicken is cooked through by cutting a small slit in the thickest part of the breast with a paring knife to have a look inside. If it is cooked through, no pink meat, remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Turn the heat up to high and simmer until the sauce thickens up slightly, about 4-5 minutes. You can serve the chicken right away topped with a big spoon full of sauce and the onions or you can return the chicken to the pot, turn the heat off and cover with the lid until you're ready to serve it. Once you are ready, add 1/2-3/4 cup additional chicken stock and turn the heat back on to heat everything back up. Serve chicken with creamy Dijon smashed potatoes and a watercress endive salad.

4 comments:

  1. This post interested me in particular. It sounds like a dish I would like. Once, a co-worker who had a Philipino (or was it Portugese?) Mom told me they cooked chicken in vinegar. I went home and tried it and it was a disaster. Obviously I didn't know what I was doing. This recipe sounds good because the honey offsets the tartness of the vinegar, or so I imagine. Good to hear about your experience with it.

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  2. Andrea - my husband really did love it. I can't put my finger on what I didn't love, so that's why I think it was psychological - knowing that I put all that vinegar in.

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  3. It was good in small doses for me. My husband wasn't really impressed by it either. Also, my whole house smelled like vinegar while it was cooking. It's probably not something that I would make again. I ended up adding 3 tablespoons or so more honey to help get rid of the vinegar taste.

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  4. If my husband requests it again, maybe I will try adding more honey, too. I think that could fix my issue with it. Thanks for the suggestion!

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