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Chicken in Cider Sauce
I don’t know who it was who said, “I would be surprised if there is any greater happiness than that of a lazy afternoon’s walk in the autumn countryside, following a good lunch and with the reasonable prospect of a good dinner ahead.” But whoever it was echoes my own sentiments; autumn being the season when I my appetite picks up and I am hungry enough to eat a horse between two bread wagons.
But it is not greed. It is that first chill of autumn in the air and the choice of seasonal food available at this, my favourite time of the year. Game is at its their best and it is time to bring in the harvest festival’s vegetables; the squash, marrows and turnips Even offal, such as kidneys and liver come into their own as the weather gets cooler and the leaves of the trees are turning to gold.
Yesterday, for lunch, I was served a rib-sticking, braised ox-tail, simmered in red wine for three hours, with a mash of potatoes and turnips (bashed neaps in Scottish) and a celery heart as the accompanying vegetable - the recipe, for which, I somewhat recklessly offered to wash the dishes for my hostess.
It is such nourishing meals that I presently look forward to. Spring always makes me feel guilty; as though I should be exercising and dieting (I don’t) to prepare my body for its annual visit to the beach. Being fair skinned, I’ve never really enjoyed summer and I do not enjoy dining alfresco. Winter I can take, if it’s not too wet and the cold does not bother me because I’ve had autumn to stoke up on an abundance of healthy carbs and to ready myself for hibernation.
If I have tempted you into enjoying a typical, tummy warming autumn dish I would recommend you try this week’s recipe.
Chicken in Cider Sauce
Sweet ciders (Strongbow, Magnus or Bulmers are excellent fo this dish. I find the the French Demi-Secs and Brut are too strong and dry for this recipe.
• 8 chicken tenderloins
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons butter, divided
• ½ cup chopped white onions
• 1 cup hard cider.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt and black pepper. Carefully avoiding spatter, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the hot skillet, and then brown the seasoned chicken for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a small roasting pan.
Add the remaining butter to the pan, and allow it to melt. Sauté the chopped onions over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they become soft and slightly brown around the edges. Add the hard cider to the skillet and bring it to a boil for 4 minutes, making sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.
Pour the thickened cider over the browned chicken and roast in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices run clear and it registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Serve the chicken hot with cider sauce poured over it.