A chilly breeze has been blowing all night and I’ve heard from a few friends that their apple trees are dropping fruit like they’re jumping for freedom. With such a bumper crop of apples as they’re experiencing, you can make an apple pie for yourself, an apple pie for your neighbor, and maybe think outside the pie crust too. There are some lovely main courses that pay tribute to this pomaceous fruit including, one of my favorite Chicken á la Normandé. This dish takes its name from the region of France best known for its apple orchards. That region is also known for its winter rain. It is not uncommon for them to have a month of rainy days, so they know how to make a cozy meal. Of course, you could be anywhere in the world, rain or shine, and enjoy the flavors this dish has to offer. I first had this combination of flavors at a little restaurant in Annapolis, Maryland. Years later, it still is in my memory and this is my attempt to pay tribute to their cooking in my own kitchen.
You’ll also notice a lovely new addition to our Nourish posts – a recipe card! It has all the details of the recipe, can be downloaded from Flickr, and includes a link to this blog so you can find your way back for more yummy recipes.
Chicken á la Normandé
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halved (omit for vegetarians)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons shallots, halved
4 garlic cloves, halved
2 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2/3 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons Calvados or apple brandy (optional)
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make six chicken cutlets.
2. In a shallow pie dish, mix the flour, thyme, and pepper. Dredge both sides of each chicken cutlet in the seasoned flour.
3. Over medium heat, warm 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Place 3 floured chicken cutlets in the pan. After 5 minutes, turn each over and let the other side cook for 5 minutes. Remove them from the pan and set aside on a plate. Repeat this process with the remaining cutlets. If your oven range runs hot, you will want to cook these over medium-low heat.
4. In the same skillet, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add shallots and garlic. Stir them occasionally while they cook for 3 minutes or until they become aromatic. Mix in the apple slices and cook for 2 minutes or until the slices become soft. Add the cider, Calvados, and lemon juice. Blend the ingredients together. Simmer to boil, then reduce heat and add the remaining butter.
5. Return the chicken cutlets to the skillet to simmer for 5 minutes. Add additional pepper and thyme to taste. Serve over penne or orecchiette pasta.