Chicken in Cider

Slow cooking chicken in cider creates the most tender, flavoursome meat which just falls off the bone. Chicken legs are ideal but thighs, drumsticks or even breasts (if you're not keen on bones) would be fine. Removing the skin cuts the fat and salt content of the dish significantly.

The flavours of the onion, garlic, thyme, mustard and cider make an incredible sauce. Adding a little cream balances the acidity of the cider, but use a splash of milk if you're without. All the alcohol from the cider evaporates during cooking, so kids can also enjoy it. Mine love it with rice and peas - I chop the chicken and mix it all up like a sort of risotto - they wolf it down.

You can serve with vegetables, mashed potato or plain rice, but in warm weather, salad and crusty bread to mop up sauce makes a great accompaniment. 

This recipe is dedicated to my brand new baby nephew John, his cider drinking daddy Phill and his beautiful mummy Michelle.

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Chicken in Cider: Serves 4 Adults 

Time:  15 mins hands on time + 40 mins cooking time

Cost:  £1.26 per serving

Calories:  421 per serving

  • 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil for frying
  • 4 chicken legs, skins removed
  • 440ml cider (preferably scrumpy)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • A few springs of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of double cream
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour dissolved in around 60ml water (optional)
  • Thyme to garnish (optional)
  1. You will need a large saucepan with a lid or casserole dish which can go on the hob. Fry the onions in a little oil until soft. Turn up the heat and pop in the chicken. Cook for around 3 minutes on each side until brown all over.
  2. Add the cider, mustard, thyme and garlic to the pan. Give it a good stir so the mustard dissolves in the cider and everything is well distributed. Bring to the boil and then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Pop the lid on the pan and leave to simmer for around 40 minutes or until the chicken is tender. You'll know when it's ready because the chicken will come away from the bone easily when you insert a fork. If it's still quite tough cook for a little longer.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm. Bring the liquid in the pan to the boil for a couple of minutes to reduce it slightly. (If you prefer your sauce a little thicker, add the cornflour mixture before boiling the liquid, and you will need to stir constantly while boiling). Finally turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Pop the chicken into a dish, pour over the sauce, garnish and serve.

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