Poulet à la Normande

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Flavors of sweet apple, cider, cream and chicken are brought together lovingly in this simple classic braise from the north of France. The only fancy trick is flambéing your choice of Calvados or brandy, giving the dish a toasty flavor. If you’re not the type to play with fire, a safer option is to pour the liquor in off-heat, and gently simmer until evaporated.


  • 3-4 pound chicken, cut into 8 bone-in pieces
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (duck/chicken fat if available)
  • ½ cup Calvados or cognac
  • 1 ¼ cups hard cider (yeasty French cider preferred)
  • 15 peeled pearl onions (frozen is okay)
  • 1 ½ pounds honeycrisp apples (or any variety that won’t melt once cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons crème fraîche (see note below)

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)
    931 calories; 54 grams fat; 52 grams protein; 15 grams saturated fat; 25 grams monounsaturated fat; 10 grams polyunsaturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 36 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 20 grams sugars; 211 milligrams cholesterol; 1765 milligrams sodium

The information shown is only an estimate based on the available ingredients and specified preparation. This should not take the place of a professional nutritionist’s advice.


  1. Using paper towel, pat the chicken very dry and season liberally with salt & pepper. In a large Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat the fat over a med-high heat until it’s shimmering. In batches if necessary, brown the chicken skin side down until a deep golden color, roughly 6-8 min, before flipping and searing the other side to a delicious golden brown, an additional 3 min.
  2. Flambé – Yes: First, ensure nothing near or above the stove will catch fire. In a saucepan over medium heat, gently warm the Calvados. Once your chicken is well browned, protect your hand and use a long kitchen match to light the liquor – next, carefully pour into your chicken pan. Be careful as flames can shoot up 2 feet high or more. Continue cooking until the flames subside.
    Flambé – No: Once your chicken has browned, turn off the heat before adding your Calvados. Once sizzling subsides, turn heat to low-medium and bring liquid to a simmer – cook for roughly 4 minutes so the alcohol evaporates.
  3. Add in your onions and cider and over a medium heat bring to a boil. Next, turn heat down a very gentle simmer. Quickly peel, core, and cut your apples into 1 ½ inch pieces and place atop the chicken. Cover the pan and cook, being sure to check every so often that the liquid is continuing to gently simmer (not boil) until the chicken is barely cooked through, approx. 35-40 minutes.
  4. Place chicken, onions & apples on to a platter and cover. From your cornstarch & 3 tablespoons of wter, make a slurry. Stir this into your braising liquid and allow to simmer for a minute until thickened. Add in the crème fraîche, stir, season the sauce to personal preferences, and place the chicken onions & applies back in the sauce. Serve alongside a salad and crusty bread, and enjoy!


  • Crème fraîche can be replaced with sour cream, or if in a bind, heavy cream with a squeeze of lemon.