ffwd: chicken, apples, and cream à la Normande

Chicken Avant Cream

I may have been cooking for a long time, but I always struggle with what to make for dinner. It’s partly because I’m not a big fan of what I call the “three-position dinner”: a meat with starch and a vegetable all coexisting separately on the plate. I prefer dishes where everything is all mixed together, but those dishes typically require more ingredients, hence, more planning and organization, which I’m not so good at.

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was a mélange sort of recipe: chicken, apples, and cream à la Normande. It also had lots of mushrooms, even though that wasn’t in the name.

You start with boneless chicken breasts, my least favorite protein because it so often turns out dry (also we’re a dark meat family), but I was being open-minded. I thought, Dorie seldom steers us wrong, after all, and she calls for dark meat in many other recipes, so breasts must be right for this one. I did cut the chicken breasts in half crosswise to make a more realistic serving size for our eating style. The chicken is lightly dredged in flour and browned on both sides.

Then you add chopped onions, sliced mushrooms, and apple chunks until they start to soften. I actually cooked the apple chunks separately. (I’m sure I’ve shared that the other eater at my house can’t abide fruit in savory dishes. I do my best to please. Or is it appease?) Some chicken broth is added, and when the chicken is nearly done, some Applejack and cream. Voilà!

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The whole thing took less than half an hour from start to finish. Good weekday food! I served the chicken over Israeli couscous with roasted broccoli on the side – a two-position dinner, but definitely all mixed up.

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The chicken breast was moist, and the sauce was rich, but not too. Howard enjoyed it without the apples, and I enjoyed it with. I don’t know whether the apple flavor would have permeated the sauce, but sprinkling the apple chunks over the couscous before dishing out the chicken and sauce worked in my compromise situation.

This dinner was a definite winner, and I would definitely make it again, with a few minor tweaks. First, I would leave out the apples to reduce the hassle of extra pans (see above). I might add more mushrooms to compensate. And, I would cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks or strips, making it even more mélange-y.

You can find the recipe here on the Monterey Herald site. This recipe and hundreds more can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table (good holiday gift idea!).

To see what the other FFwD bloggers thought of Normandy chicken, check out their links here.

Happy French Friday to all!

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Posted on 14 December 2012, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. I made this with my boys’ cooking club and we made more of a “stew” which I loved. I’llbe making this again soon.

  2. Glad you liked it Betsy. I thought it was good, but needed something else. Dinner everyday can become very tiring! Have a great weekend!

  3. I’ve never thought of it that way, but I think I like combined food more, too – stew, lasagna, enchiladas. Hmmm… I’m glad you liked this. I’m still MIA, but hope to get back on track with FFWD soon.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. This was a delicious and creamy dish. Great post!

  5. Oh, man, that first picture is reminding me of how terrific this smelled while cooking! I wish I’d had leftovers! I like the idea of serving it with Israeli couscous, I’ll have to try that next time. Lovely presentation of this dish!

  6. Ah, the things we do to keep the peace. I really liked the apples, but I’m not sure that they added any flavor to the sauce itself, so I think you probably got the idea. Maybe if I had added calvados it would have made a difference, but I had a perfectly good bottle of cognac sitting in my cabinet and just couldn’t bring myself to buy a full new bottle of something for only 2 tablespoons.

  7. My mother used to always yell at me for making a mess of my food, but I love everything mixed together too. Love stews, soups, and casseroles. My kids always think I’m hiding something when I cook like this… yeah, their called vegetables.

  8. Mmmmm….perfect with Israeli couscous! I’m kind of shocked my hubby ate the apples…but he made sure to pick out the mushrooms :) And this would be great cut into strips and served over your couscous or noodles…excellent idea!

  9. Your dish looks wonderful with all those mushrooms. I also served it with steamed broccoli. I’m so glad that this was also a winner for you, Betsy. I made this with pork and we loved it and I especially loved the apples in the cream sauce. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

  10. I think the fact that the recipe only calls for one apple is a good thing. In my opinion, it added just enough sweetness to the sauce with making it feel like chicken and applesauce. I make meals like this often (saute meat, make pan sauce, serve with veggie/rice/potato) just because it’s so easy and quick!

  11. Couscous and broccoli sound like wonderful sides for this dish. We have leftovers, so I might follow your lead (though it would be quinoa here).

  12. This was such a deliciously creamy saucey chicken recipe and your photos show a winning preparation. I’ll be making this one again soon. Nice to find such a good yet simple recipe.

  13. I am with you about the dinner dilemma. Dinner 365 days a year is exhausting and if you’re making several things for each meal, that’s a lot of dishes! I like your ideas and hope to get to this dish today.

  14. ooooh it looks so good! I missed this one this week but I will make it soon! Happy holidays!

  15. Betsy, I did double down on the mushrooms and apples, as you know. And, since my chicken breasts almost, just almost, were a tad dry, I would cut them into strips or chunks next time like you suggested. I really enjoyed this dish – I love chicken – and have eaten it the past three days (not tomorrow, I am promising myself). As for the immersion blender. For the cauliflower soup I used a big old soup pot. So, when I puréed it, I didn’t even divide it into batches. I think the key to the immersion blender is to submerge it into the pot before turning it on. Also have it in a liquid when you start to purrrrr. Then it doesn’t splash all over. I use my immersion blender often and love it. If used right, it really does the job. Hope this helps.

  16. I totally agree – dinner where everything is all mixed together is the best!!

  17. Betsy, So glad you enjoyed this dish! I found it lacking in flavor…I think I’ll give it one more try, using some skinned and boneless chicken thighs…We also like the dark meat. I would also add a few more ingredients such as garlic and herbs! I love potted meals too…especially when there are leftovers!

  18. Hi Betsy! I am salivating and my stomach’s growling looking at your photo. I love the chicken and mushroom and cream combination, I’m sure it’s delicious!

  19. Betsy, sounds like your wonderful Norman chicken was quite a success – the idea of preparing couscous and roasted broccoli on the side sounds wonderful – I am sure that it was a very harmonious dinner.
    Have a wonderful week!

  20. Wasn’t this great! I loved it – a winner.

  21. This one was a hit with my husband unit too but I cheated and used chicken thighs because I was feeling cheap. You could definitely try it with that next time since you said you’re more of a dark meat family. I should buy some Israeli couscous. I always love it when I get it in restaurants but I’ve never made it myself.

  22. Yes, the leave it in or leave it out debate happens often in our house. I was eating this one on my own, so didn’t have to please any one else :-)

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