Normandy is one of the great gastronomic regions of France. So when a dish is prepared à la normande what exactly does that mean? Any combination of fresh cream, cider and calvados (or apples), and cheese. I try to keep a Normandy theme to the menus at Basse Copette, and one of the most popular dishes is Normandy chicken. It is a wholesome meal – just the meal that is called for after a long day walking the Normandy countryside. I am often asked for the recipe, so here it is (without photographs for the moment I am afraid).
The following recipe will feed four people, and the quantities are guidelines.
4 pieces of chicken – I use the thigh and drumstick (as one piece)
1 large onion – chopped, not too finely
4 large, peeled potatoes
750ml Normandy cider/white wine
750 ml chicken or vegetable stock
200 ml cream
salt and pepper
fresh or dried thyme
Fresh chopped Parsley
Heat up some oil in a large pot, and then add the chicken pieces skin-side down and cook on a medium heat for about 8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Turn the pieces over and cook for a further 7 minutes.
Add the chopped onion and a splash (or two) of Calvados, and cook for a further minute or so. Remove the chicken pieces. Continue cooking the onion for a few minutes until golden brown in colour.
Add the cider/wine and simmer gently reducing the liquid by about a half.
Add the stock, and reduce by about a half as well.
Add the potatoes to the liquid, place the chicken pieces on top of the potatoes. Turn up the heat and let the pot come to the boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken, and strain the liquid. Place the strained liquid in a smaller pan and reduce that further. When you have the consistency desired take the pan off the heat and add fresh cream.
Mash the potatoes and onions together – coarsely. Place the mash on a plate and the chicken on it. Pour the creamy gravy over the chicken, and sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley.
Best served with French beans, carrots and/or corgettes.
And chilled cider of course!
If you try this recipe – come back and leave a comment.