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Chicken with Calvados in Cream (Poulet Vallee D'auge)

Normandy is the home of the French dairy industry and also of Calvados, a sort of brandy made from apples, so the two types of ingredients are often incorporated into the food of the region as here.

ingredients

4 servings
50 g (2 oz) 4 Tbs Butter
1/2 kg (3 lb) Roasting chicken
50 ml (2 fl oz) 1/4 cup Calvados (or brandy if you prefer)
2 Shallots, finely chopped
1 Celery stalk, chopped
1 Large dessert apple, peeled, cored and chopped
50 g (2 oz) Streaky (fatty) bacon
1/2 tsp Dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste
300 ml (10 fl oz) 1 1/4 cups Dry cider or apple juice
2 Egg yolks
75 ml (3 fl oz) 3/8 cup Double (heavy) cream

method

1. Preheat the oven to warm 170°C (Gas Mark 3, 325 °F).

2. Melt the butter in a large flameproof casserole. Add the chicken and fry until it is evenly browned. Remove from the heat. Warm the Calvados or brandy, pour over the chicken and ignite. When the flames have died down, stir in the vegetables, apple, bacon, sage and seasoning.

3. Return to the heat and fry the vegetables until they are soft. Pour over the cider or apple juice and bring to the boil. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.

4. Remove the chicken from the casserole and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Strain the cooking liquid into a small saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables and bacon with the back of a wooden spoon to extract all the juice. Boil rapidly until the sauce has reduced by about one-third.

5. Beat the egg yolks and cream together, then gradually stir in the sauce. Return the sauce to the saucepan and simmer gently until it is hot but not boiling. When the sauce has thickened, pour a little over the chicken and the remainder into a warmed sauceboat. Serve the chicken at once, accompanied by the sauce.

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