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Chicken and Cider Fricassée with Parsley Croûtes

Chicken cooked with tarragon and white wine is a traditionally French dish: by swapping the wine for hard cider, it is transformed into something quintessentially English and unquestionably delicious! Once the initial flurry of work is done, this sumptuous dish bubbles happily away on the stove until it’s time to toast up parsley-laden bread slices and tuck in!

Chicken and Cider Fricassée with Parsley Croûtes

1 tbs. olive oil
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces, skin left on
5 slices thick-cut bacon
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
9 oz. large mushrooms, quartered
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
16 oz. hard cider
2 cups chicken stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tbs. English mustard
handful fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped, stalks saved for chicken
2 tbs. olive oil
1 baguette or cibatta loaf, sliced

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or deep pan. Season the chicken and brown in batches, then transfer to a plate. If there is a good amount of fat in the pan, spoon most out. Add the bacon and fry until golden and crisp, then set aside with the chicken. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pan, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Cook over a low heat until soft and starting to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes longer. Stir in the flour until it disappears, then add the cider and stock.

Tie the thyme, bay leaves, and parsley stalks together with kitchen string and add to the pot along with the chicken and bacon. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 1¼ hours.

Carefully lift the chicken out of the pot, cover with foil, and discard the herbs. Turn up the heat and reduce the remaining liquid by half. Add the cream, mustard, and tarragon and check seasoning. Return the chicken to the pan and warm through before serving.

Meanwhile, make the croûtes by combining the parsley and olive oil with some salt and pepper. Spread over the sliced bread, place on a baking sheet herb side up, and cook in a 425°F oven for 10-12 minutes.

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