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Pot-Roasted Chicken with Calvados and Cream

Calvados is an apple brandy and simply delicious. We realize it is not a store cupboard staple, but believe us, once you purchase a bottle, you will find many uses for it. (Drizzled over vanilla bean ice cream instantly comes to mind! Or splashed over winter squash before roasting. . . .) Here it is the basis of a lovely sauce for a chicken dish that provides all the flavors of autumn in one cozy and comforting package. Crusty bread is essential to sop up the appley juices. Oh, and did we mention there is bacon?!?

Pot-Roasted Chicken with Calvados and Cream

7½ oz. bacon, cut crosswise into ½” pieces (6 slices)
3 lb. whole chicken
5 shallots, halved
3 apples, peeled, cored and quartered (we used Granny Smith)
5 tarragon sprigs
4 fl. oz. chicken stock
1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
3 fl. oz. Calvados
4 tbs. heavy cream

Heat the oven to 375°F.

Heat a large oven-proof casserole pot over a medium heat and fry the bacon until crisp. Scoop out, leaving the fat behind. Season the chicken well, add it breast-side down and cook for 10 minutes, until deep golden. Turn to brown the other side, then lift the chicken out and set aside.

To the pot, add the shallots and apples, cooking for 2 minutes, until taking on color. Add 2 tarragon sprigs and the stock. Simmer for a few minutes, scraping up any golden bits. Sit the chicken on top, breast-side up and roast in the oven for 1½ hours, or until the internal temperature in the thigh is 175°F.

Remove the casserole from the oven and transfer the chicken to a plate. Cover with foil and rest at least 15 minutes. Put the casserole on the stove and discard the tarragon. Add the vinegar and Calvados, bring to a boil, then simmer for 3-4 minutes. Chop the remaining tarragon and stir in with the cream and reserved bacon.

Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce.

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