After the soup and gougères, we still had several courses to go.
For our main course, I had heard a rumor of a Nigella Lawson recipe of a brandy and bacon chicken–a quick search online found the recipe, which, to be honest, had left me a little underwhelmed. Still, it was a great inspiration, and used that as an idea to work into my own. I started with a half-cup apple juice and a cinnamon stick in a skillet, and simmered that for a few minutes until the apple juice had reduced by half. I poured in about a quarter cup of Calvados and set it aflame–one of the BEST parts of cooking! Controlled fire!–and let it burn off all the alcohol. One the flame was gone, I whisked in about 4 tablespoons worth of bacon fat, and I had something of a lovely, apple-ish, bacon-ish glaze for chicken.
I stuffed the cavity of the chicken with an apple half, and a few sprigs each of fresh sage and thyme. The skin was rubbed down with salt and pepper, and spooned the Calvados glaze all over the skin. The chicken was roasted at 400° for a little over an hour–I didn’t really time the chicken since I had a digital thermometer in the thigh to tell me when it hit 165°. Because of the residual sugars from the juice, the chicken did need to be tented with foil to keep the skin from burning.
Now, this was where I was a bad, bad food blogger and forgot to take a picture of the chicken when it came out of the oven; this makes me sad because it was an absolutely gorgeous mahogany color when it was finished. I did, however, take a picture of a main course plate:
We served that chicken with Cauliflower Gratin and Haricot Verts sauteéd in bacon and shallots.
I have to admit, I need to work on the recipe for the gratin (else I’d share it with you); it came out kind of wet–it was still remarkably tasty, but the recipe needs some tweaking.
Haricot Verts with Shallots and Bacon
serves 4 as a side dish
3/4 pound fresh haricot vert (French green beans; regular green beans can be used), washed and stem ends trimmed
4 strips bacon
1 medium shallot, finely diced
- Steam or blanch beans to partially cook and set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook bacon strips until crispy and remove from pan to drain. Leave bacon drippings in pan.
- Turn heat down to medium and add shallots. Cook until glossy; toss in beans and cook until fork-tender, about 3-5 minutes.