A delicious chicken casserole cooked with sweet dessert apples in a flavoursome, cider and chicken stock sauce. Serve it up on a winter’s night and see the family’s faces light up.
- 45g (1½oz) butter
- 1.5kg (3lb) chicken, cut into portions, skin removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 shallots, peeled
- 3 sticks celery, chopped
- 300ml (½ pint) dry cider
- 300ml (½ pint) chicken stock
- 2 eating apples, quartered, cored and cut into wedges
- 2tsp cornflour
- 5tbs crème fraîche
- 2tbs Dijon mustard
- 2tbs dried tarragon
To make this chicken casserole, set the oven to gas mark 5 or 190°C.
Heat 30g (1oz) butter in a large, flameproof casserole dish and add the chicken. Cook over a high heat for 10 mins, until browned all over, turning as needed. Season well.
Add the shallots and celery, and cook for a few mins. Pour in the cider and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook in the oven for 40 mins. Test the chicken by inserting a sharp knife; it is ready when the juices run clear.
Meanwhile, heat the rest of the butter in a non-stick frying pan and add the apple wedges. Fry on both sides until lightly browned. Set aside and keep warm.
Mix the cornflour with 2tbs crème fraîche, to make a smooth paste. Lift out the chicken and keep warm. Add the cornflour mixture, the remaining crème fraîche, mustard and tarragon to the casserole liquid. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 3 mins, until thickened and smooth.
Serve the chicken topped with the sauce, shallots, celery and pan-fried apple wedges. Serve with crusty bread, if you like. Pack the cooled casserole into a container and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost before reheating.
Short of time? Gently simmer the casserole on top of the hob for about 25 mins. Stir from time to time, to stop the base from burning and check liquid levels.