Apple lovers, rejoice! This Poulet Vallée D’Auge – a classic French chicken dish – is proof that autumn’s favorite fruit is good for more than pies and works great in savory dishes too.
(This post is sponsored by SweeTango, but all opinions are my own!)
Tomorrow I fly back to NY after a month in Italy.
I’m feeling all kinds of emotions, as I am missing home (and Tim and Lola) but also very grateful for this amazing journey. Italy will be forever in my heart and I cannot wait to come back!
But guess what? I’m a restless soul and am already planning the next adventure! Tim and I are thinking of going to France next, since we never got a proper honeymoon, and it gives me goosebumps just imagining all the delicious French food I will get to eat.
My love for French food has grown stronger in the last couple of years, as I experimented with la cuisine française in my kitchen.
My last (re)creation was this out-of-this-world Poulet Vallée d’Auge, which consists of chicken cooked in apple cider, flambéed with Calvados brandy and topped with sautéed buttered apples and a silky cream sauce.
Absolument délicieux! ???
The Poulet Vallée D’Auge is a traditional French dish from a Normandy region called Pays d’Auge, the land of butter, cream and apples. So it’s no surprise that a dish from that region would feature all of these things!
This is also the area where Calvados – an apple brandy – is produced, hence why we are using it to flambé this dish. But don’t you worry! If you can’t find Calvados, or if it’s not on the budget (as it can be a little pricey), any plain brandy will do. Your Poulet Vallée D’Auge will be delicious nonetheless!
However, there’s one thing you can’t substitute in this recipe: the apples. Want to make this with pork instead of chicken? Not traditional, but go for it! Want to skip the cream and just reduce the broth and cider? Sure, why not? But, pretty please, don’t skip the apples! They are the reason this dish is so special.
My latest apple obsession? SweeTango apple! ?
SweeTango apples are exceptionally crunchy and sweet, with a lively touch of citrus, honey and spice. And when I say crunchy, I mean it! The white flesh of a SweeTango apple is made up of cells twice the size of most of the other apples, and when bitten, these cells shatter with a satisfying snap and burst of sweet and tangy juice.
When the world record for the “loudest crunch of an apple” was set in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2016, guess which was the apple of choice? Yep, you guessed right. It was SweeTango! ?
And because this apple is so crunchy, it is the perfect choice for making Poulet Vallée D’Auge.
Even though we are only sautéing the cubed apples at the beginning and reserving them to garnish the dish at the end, it is crucial that we use an apple that holds its shape when cooked. Mushy apples can definitely ruin this delicious dish!
Since we are at the middle of apple season, now is the time to make this French classic! I hope you believe me when I tell you that this is one of the best chicken dishes you will ever taste!
If you trust me – even if just a tiny little bit – make Poulet Vallée D’Auge ASAP. SweeTango apples are usually only available until December, so get on that. ?
- 3 SweeTango apples, cored and diced
- 4 ounces butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 to 4 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- ¼ cup Calvados brandy (substitute: any plain brandy)
- 1 cup Apple cider
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ to 1 cup creme fraiche, depending how creamy you like it
- Chopped parsley to garnish
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of butter, over medium heat, until melted. Add the apples and sautée until golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Increase heat to medium high and add remaining tablespoon of butter and oil. When hot, add chicken and, working in batches, cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and reserve.
- Add the shallots to the pot and sauté, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken skin side up back to the pot, remove pot from heat, add Calvados and light with a long match or lighter to flambé. Once the flames die down, return pot to the heat and add cider. Cook for about 5 minutes to reduce.
- Add the chicken broth and herbs. Cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. Raise the heat to medium high and bubble the remaining juices for a minute or two, just to reduce a little. Then, remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and whisk in the creme fraiche.
- Gently return the chicken to the sauce, top with the reserved apples and sprinkle with parsley.
- Serve immediately.