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Weekend Recipe: Apple Cider Chicken

Photo courtesy of Cook's Country
Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

If Isaac Newton had been a chef, he would have discovered gravity by dropping an apple straight into the pan for this chicken dish. This Cook's Country recipe ensures a lot of apple flavor -- a combination of apple cider, apple brandy, and fresh apples are all used. Now that's a winning equation!

Apple Cider Chicken
Serves 4

Either white or dark meat (or a combination) will work. To ensure even cooking, halve breasts crosswise and separate leg quarters into thighs and drumsticks before cooking. Plain brandy, cognac, or Calvados (a French apple brandy) can be used in place of the apple brandy.

3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large Golden Delicious, Cortland, or Jonagold apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup apple brandy
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

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Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken, skin-side down, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Flip and brown on second side, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Cook onion in chicken fat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, and flour and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and flour is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add apple, cider, and 3 tablespoons brandy and bring to boil.

Nestle chicken, skin-side up, into sauce and roast until white meat registers 160 degrees (or dark meat registers 175 degrees), about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter. Stir vinegar and remaining brandy into sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing sauce at table.

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