I have a book by Fran Warde called New Bistro. I bought this from Lorne Beach Books a year or so ago, a shop I rarely walk out of without a book. This book contains a collection of recipes from bistros in France plus simpler regional recipes from the author. I pulled this book out of the shelf on Sunday arvo and on the page I first opened to there was a recipe for Coq au cidre or chicken baked in cider. According to the recipe, this is the Normandy version of pot au feu where cider is used rather than stock and creme fraiche is added. It sounded perfect for dinner.
This is a pretty simple recipe. Chop 4 shallots, 2 sticks of celery and 2 carrots and place in a casserole with 2 bay leaves and a bunch of thyme. Place a free range chicken (recipe says 2kg, I used a 1.5kg bird) on top of veges and pour in 650ml of dry apple cider. Cover and cook in a 180C oven for an hour. Remove cover and cook for another 15 mins.
Lift chicken out and keep warm. Remove herbs and strain veges, keeping both liquid and veges. Blend veges until smooth, seasoning if necessary – keep warm. Add 2 tbsp creme fraiche to liquid and boil until thick. Serve carved chicken with pureed veges and sauce topped with chopped chervil.
This was a simple meal to cook, tasted good and filled the kitchen with a beautiful smell while cooking. I really don’t know why I don’t cook more meals like this but there really is no excuse. I will seek to rectify this in the future.