I had a conversation in which we ranked chicken parts. Yes, a very important debate here.
This judgement was based on taste, not nutritional value or ease of cooking. No other parts were under consideration. In other words, you can have the feet.
To celebrate: a recipe using the champions of our discussion, chicken thighs and legs.
Get the chicken.
Chop the parts into pieces and season them, then get them browning.
Lots of time to get the leeks ready.
Wash the leeks well and cut them into 1″ pieces.
The chicken is browned.
Add the leeks to the pan and brown them.
Get the apples.
Peel, core and slice one of the apples and brown the pieces.
Back to the leeks: when they’ve been cooking for 10 minutes, add the flour and stir in.
After a few minutes of cooking that, add the cider (off the heat).
Back on the heat, bring the mixture to a boil and put the chicken pieces back in the pan.
Six sprigs of thyme went in there too.
Add the browned apples, turn the heat down, put a lid on it and wait.
Peel, core and slice the other apple and brown those pieces in butter.
After 30 minutes, remove the chicken and reduce the cooking liquid.
Add the cream and heat through.
Chicken with Leeks, Apples and Cider.
So tasty! Because it was chicken thighs and legs. Though the cider didn’t hurt.
Chicken with Leeks, Apples and Cider
8 chicken thighs
55 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
700 g (1 lb 9 oz) leeks (untrimmed weight)
2 dessert apples
1 Tbsp plain flour
500 ml (18 fl oz) dry cider
8 sprigs thyme
150 ml (5 fl oz) double cream
1 tsp caster sugar
Season the chicken pieces and heat 25 g (1 oz) of the butter in a large sauté pan (one with a lid) or a wide casserole. Brown the chicken on both sides, then set the pieces on one side. Be careful not to burn the butter.
Remove the tough outer leaves from the leeks. Trim the bases and cut off the tough, very dark leaves at the top. Wash the leeks really well, making sure that you get rid of any soil that has lodged in them. Cut into rounds about 3 cm (1 in) thick.
Peel and core one of the apples, then cut it into wedges. Melt 15 g (1/2 oz) of the butter in a small frying-pan and gently brown the apple pieces on each side. Set aside.
Add the leeks to the fat in the chicken pan and sauté without browning for about 10 minutes – the leeks should soften but not become sloppy. Add the flour and stir it into the juices. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Take the pan off the heat and slowly add the cider, stirring all the time.
Put the pan back on the heat, bring to the boil then add the chicken, six sprigs of the thyme and the sautéed apple. Immediately turn the heat down to a simmer. Put the lid on and leave to cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through, with no trace of pink.
Lift the chicken pieces out of the casserole and simmer the cooking juices until reduced by about a third. Add the cream, bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes.
Peel, core and cut up the other apple into wedges, and put it in the small frying-pan in which you cooked the first apple. Sauté gently in the remaining 15 g (1/2 oz) butter, adding the caster sugar to help the slices caramelise nicely on the outside.
Add the chicken back to the sauce and heat gently. At the last minute, add the sautéed apples. Pick the leaves off the remaining sprigs of thyme, sprinkle over the chicken and serve immediately with mash or boiled new potatoes.