You can use chicken breasts or legs with this recipe if preferred but a whole chicken has the best texture. Use an ovenproof casserole that fits the chicken snugly, rather than a larger one. The texture of the chicken remains juicy and the taste is very flavourful. If you do not have a casserole that goes on top of the stove then use a skillet and transfer to your ovenproof dish.
- 1 tsp cracked fennel
- 1 tsp cracked coriander
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- One 4 lb (2 kg) whole chicken
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 Pink Lady or Royal Gala apples, peeled and diced into ½-inch chunks
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp chopped chervil or parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 300ºF.
Combine fennel, coriander, thyme and black pepper. Reserve 1 tsp spice mixture and season chicken all over with remaining mixture, adding a little inside.
Heat oil and 1 tbsp butter in an ovenproof casserole over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes per side or until golden. Remove from pan. Discard fat and wipe out pan.
Add remaining butter and apples to pan and sauté for 2 minutes or until tinged with gold. Pour in cider and cider vinegar, add remaining spice mixture and bring to boil. Boil for 1 minute.
Return chicken to casserole, cover and bake for 1 hour. Remove lid and bake 15 minutes longer or until juices run clear.
Remove chicken and apples from casserole. Add cream to sauce and bring to boil. Boil for 2 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add lemon juice, reserved apples and chervil and simmer for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut chicken into 4 serving pieces and pour sauce over chicken to serve. Surround with apples.