Sunday, August 9, 2020

Poulet à la Normande #BakingBloggers

With Sue of A Palatable Pastime as our host, we're sharing our favorite French recipes! She wrote: "We're baking  foods from France this month, by popular demand. Sweet or savory, some portion of the  recipe should be baked." I can't wait to have some new French recipes. Here's the line-up...

Poulet à la Normande

This simple, classic braise from northern France brings together the fall flavors of sweet apples, yeasty beer, cream and chicken. The only trick is flambéing the brandy, which gives it a toasty flavor — it’s literally playing with fire, so if you’d prefer not to do that, you can stay safe and get very similar results by pouring the liquor in off-heat, and gently simmering it to evaporate the alcohol.

And, typically, it's made with hard cider and Calvados or apple brandy. I didn't have any of either, but I had some unfiltered honey wheat beer from a local brewery and Pisco, a Peruvian brandy. It was delicious.

Ingredients serves 4
  • 6 to 7 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken (I used three thighs and four drumsticks)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Tablespoon olive oil, duck fat, or chicken fat 
  • ½ cup ground bacon or the more traditional cubed ventrèche (this is akin to a French pancetta, substitute Italian pancetta or bacon if you can't find ventrèche)
  • 1 organic onion, peeled and cubed, approximately 1 cup
  • 3 to 4 large apples, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced (I used Pink Pearl apples)
  • ½ cup Calvados (or other brandy)
  • 1 ¼ cup hard cider or beer (I used an unfiltered local honey beer)
  • 5 Tablespoons crème fraîche or buttermilk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the ground bacon in a large Dutch oven or deep skillet (I used my Le Creuset braiser) over medium heat until the fat is rendered and shimmering. Place the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until a deep golden, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Flip and sear the other side until golden, approximately another 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, leaving the rendered fat in the bottom.

Add in the onions and apples and stir to coat with the fat. Nestle the chicken thighs on top of the apples and onions.

Pour the brandy in a small saucepan and heat gently. When it begins to steam, use a stick lighter or long match to ignite it. While it's burning, pour the brandy over the chicken and let it burn out.

 It might take a minute or two before the alcohol burns off and the flames subside.

Pour the cider or beer over the dish and bring it to a boil. Cover and place in the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

If the sauce is thick enough for your liking, simply drizzle the chicken with the crème fraîche or buttermilk. If you prefer it thicker, place the heat on a burner over medium heat and let the sauce reduce.

 Serve the dish immediately. I offered blanched beans on the side.


  1. Those apples!!!! I have never heard of them but I'm going to be on the lookout. But no worries, I think this dish would be delicious with local apples too.

  2. You always make such interesting dishes, and I bet this was amazing as well.

  3. Love the flame! Those apples are gorgeous.

  4. This recipe makes me excited that fall is right around the corner! I can't wait until apple season arrives in full force!!!

  5. The perfect al fresco meal!

  6. Something different and new to me. Looks like a perfect meal