.Across the ocean in London, where my husband and I spent this past week, fall apples had starring roles on restaurant menus and were featured in food magazines as well. At Tom’s Kitchen, in Chelsea, I ordered a creamy, smooth chicken liver mousse served with a deep golden applesauce and a sprinkle of crunchy granola. At Elystan Street, another restaurant near by, an apple and Damson plum crumble caught my eye. Then in the British food magazine, Olive, I spotted roast rack of pork paired with apple/horseradish sauce and a toffee apple cheesecake. So, when I returned home, apples were on my mind, and I knew exactly what I wanted to cook—sautéed chicken cutlets and apple wedges served with a fresh cider sauce.
The recipe is simplicity itself. Apple wedges, with their skins left on, are cooked in a little butter along with a bit of sugar until golden and tender. Then chicken cutlets rubbed with crushed rosemary, kosher salt, and coarse black pepper, are quickly seared and their pan drippings combined with white wine, cider, and stock to form the base for the sauce. Diced butter and a touch of crème fraiche enrich it and a hint of soy sauce deepens the color and adds extra flavor.
The apples can be sautéed in advance and reheated. If you have the ingredients measured ahead, count on about 20 minutes to cook the chicken and make the sauce. I serve this dish with creamy mashed potatoes, but noodles or grains—wild rice or farro, for example—would make fine sides too. I tried Pink Lady, Fuji, and Granny Smith apples, but ask the vendors at your farmers’ market or grocery which apples hold up best when sautéed.
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Pan Seared Chicken Cutlets and Apples with Cider Sauce
Chicken and Apples
4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets ( 5 to 6 oz each and 1/4 to 3/8-inch thick)
1 1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 medium apples such as Fuji or Pink Lady, unpeeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/2 -inch wedges
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp canola oil plus more if needed
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup cider
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken stock or broth plus more if needed
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/4 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
2 tsp crème fraîche
Rosemary sprigs for garnish, optional
1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine rosemary, pepper, and salt in a small bowl, and season both sides of each cutlet with the mixture. Set aside.
2. In a medium, heavy skillet over medium low heat, heat butter until hot but not brown. Add apple wedges and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes or more until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with sugar, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or more until lightly browned. Remove from heat and cover loosely with foil.
3. In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add enough chicken cutlets to fit comfortably in a single layer. Cook 2 1/2 minutes and then turn and cook on other sides 21/2 to 3 minutes more or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a sharp knife. Remove to a platter and cover loosely with foil. Repeat using more oil if needed to cook any remaining chicken.
4. For sauce, discard drippings in pan, and place skillet over medium high heat. Add wine, and cook, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet with a whisk, until it has reduced to 2 to 3 tablespoons, about 3 to 4 minutes. Watch carefully. Add cider, stock, and cider vinegar, and whisk until mixture has reduce to 1 cup, 4 minutes or more. Watch carefully. Whisk in soy sauce and the cornstarch mixture. Continue whisking until mixture thickens, only a minute or so. (If sauce thickens too much, thin with a tablespoon or two of extra stock.)
5. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, then the crème fraiche. Taste and season with salt if needed. (Soy sauce is salty so you may not need extra salt.)
6. To serve, ladle some sauce over each chicken cutlet. Garnish each with sautéed apples and, if desired, with a rosemary sprig. Serve extra sauce in a small bowl. Serves 4.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2018