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Chicken and leeks braised in cider – perfect for fall

Leek in flower

Leek in flower

This recipe was shared by a member of my recipe group and it is so good that her husband thought she should keep it a family secret recipe.  As another member stated “Lucky for us she didn’t.”  I’ve adapted this only slightly


8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

3 leeks

2 T butter

1 T all-purpose flour

2 C fresh apple cider (not juice!)

6 sprigs of thyme, about 2” or so each (you can remove the leaves or leave them on and fish out the stems later)

2/3 C heavy cream

Optional: 2 yellow or green apples; peeled, cored and quartered

Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.

Trim off the dark green part of the leeks and remove the tough outer leaves. Cut them crosswise into 1” long pieces. Place in bowl of water or sink and wash and drain.

Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a heavy, wide Dutch oven. Brown the chicken well on both sides, about five minutes per side. Do this in two batches if needed. Set the chicken aside. Drain most of the fat from the pan, leaving about 3-4 tablespoons.

Add the leeks to the pan and sauté for about five minutes until they are browned and beginning to soften. Scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan as you stir the leeks around. Add the flour to the leeks and saute for another minute or two.

Add the cider and thyme sprigs to the pan and bring it to a boil, scraping up whatever is still sticking to the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan in a single layer, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 – 35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken from the pan. Fish out the thyme stems – the leaves will have already been off.  Turn the heat to high and boil the pan juices until they are reduced by one-third. Add the cream and stir until it is incorporated. Boil another couple of minutes to meld the flavors.

Optional: Saute the apple quarters in a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan until browned and soft and serve with the chicken.

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