When I think of fall meals, I think of hearty, one pot meals that boast the traditional flavors of the season. A perfect example of what that looks like is this recipe for Chicken Normandy.
Chicken Normandy, or Poulet à la Normande as the French say, is such a delightful, quick meal to whip up on a fall weeknight. Normandy, if you’re unfamiliar with the area, is a region in Northern France famous for its butter, cheese, and apples.
Chicken Normandy highlights Normandy’s apple harvest by showcasing braised chicken with apples, onion, apple brandy, and cream. The chicken can be made up of any cut you like, however, I personally love to use boneless skinless chicken thighs when I’m whipping this dish up.
If you’ve seen my recipes for chicken in mustard sauce or chicken in white wine, then you may have noticed that I tend to use bone-in, skin-on chicken for stews and one-pot meals like this. That’s because I tend to think you get maximum flavor in your meals when you use chicken with bone and skin.
That said, bone-in chicken takes longer to cook. I can sympathize with those of you who come home from work and are looking a delicious home-cooked meal, but don’t want to wait a long time for it. That’s why I’m sharing this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
The chicken thighs have great flavor, but the lack of bone means it’ll be ready much sooner, and the lack of skin just makes this meal a tad leaner.
If you want to prepare this meal for Sunday supper and have the time to spare, then by all means, go for the bone-in chicken.
Like I said, Chicken Normandy is traditionally made with apples and apple brandy. You can use whatever apples you have on hand. If you’re shopping for the apples, then I suggest some tart apples like granny smith. They’ll add another dimension of flavor to the dish with their tartness.
I don’t always have apple brandy on hand, so I’ll sometimes just swap in regular brandy. The real apple flavor in this recipe comes from the apple cider that the chicken is cooked in, anyways.
Rather than the chicken cooking in chicken broth like many one-pot chicken meals, apple cider is used as a scrumptious fall alternative. After the chicken is browned, it’s cooked in the apple cider for about 5 to 7 minutes until it’s cooked through.
Then it’s just a matter of stirring in some mustard, cream, and freshly chopped sage (or thyme). The mixture continues to simmer for another 5 minutes or so, until it’s reduced and has thickened. Overall, the meal can be prepped and cooked in 20 to 25 minutes.
Best of all, it’s incredibly yummy. I like serving Chicken Normandy with a big loaf of French bread. That way, you can soak up all the cream sauce with your bread. Yum!
A fall dinner made up of braised chicken, apples, onion, brandy, and cream.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 granny smith apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2" wedges
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tbsp apple brandy (or regular brandy)
- apple cider *see note
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
To a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Pat dry the chicken thighs and a pinch of salt and pepper to both sides of the thighs. Carefully place the thighs into the pot and cook each side until browned.
Remove the chicken thighs from the pot and temporarily set aside on a plate. Add the apple wedges to the pot and sauté for a few minutes until golden and caramelized. Place the apple wedges on a separate plate.
Turn down the heat to medium. To the pot, add the onions and brandy. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes, when the onion has softened, add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the chicken back into the pot and pour in enough apple cider so that the chicken is mostly immersed in the cider, but not completely submerged. Raise the heat to high to bring the cider to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn down the heat to medium and cover the pot with a lid; cook for 5-7 minutes, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
Remove the lid from the pot and stir in the cooked apples, mustard, cream, and chopped sage. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes longer, until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Serve each chicken thigh with a few apple wedges and some cream sauce poured over it. Enjoy immediately with French bread.
Depending on how deep/wide your pot is, you may need anywhere from 1.5 to 2 cups of apple cider.