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Braised Chicken Legs with Cider, Apples & Mustard

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Serves 4

When chicken legs are simmered slowly, the meat becomes wonderfully tender and falls off the bone; at the same time, it develops a rich, deep flavor. Use dry hard cider (which is alcoholic) for this recipe, not fresh sweet cider.

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on medium chicken thighs (1-1/2 to 1-3/4 lb.)
  • 4 chicken drumsticks (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium apples such as Rome, Spy, or Mutsu, peeled, cored, and cut into sixths
  • 2 cups dry hard apple cider
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 large marjoram sprigs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh marjoram

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF.

Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. In a straight-sided 10- or 11-inch ovenproof sauté pan with a lid, heat the oil over mediumhigh heat until very hot. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan (it’ll be crowded), cover with a splatter screen, if you have one, and cook until deeply browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook until the other sides are deeply browned, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Pour out and discard all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan. Set the pan aside to cool for a few minutes.

Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the apple pieces, and cook, turning once, until both cut sides are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a different plate. Carefully pour the cider into the pan and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Whisk the mustard into the cider. Return the chicken to the pan, along with any accumulated juices. Add the marjoram sprigs and cover. Transfer the pan to the oven and braise for 10 minutes. Add the apples and continue to braise until the chicken is fork-tender and the drumstick meat starts to come away from the bone, 35 to 40 minutes more.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and apples to a large serving dish and keep warm by covering the dish loosely with foil. Discard the marjoram sprigs. Tilt the sauté pan and skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and whisk in the cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the chopped marjoram, and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve over noodles.

Drink Suggestions

Try a dry, fruity Riesling from Alsace, such as the Domaine Albert Boxler.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 480; Fat (g): 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 270; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 32; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): 15; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): 1040; Cholesterol (mg): 125; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Okay, but too much mustard and marjoram. Also, this is not a braise, technically speaking. The dish has potential, but needs work.

This is a perfect winter dinner. Also works fine with boneless, skinless thighs.

This is a perfect winter dinner. Also works fine with boneless, skinless thighs.

I absolutely loved this! I changed the cider for white wine. I'm not a fan of cider anything, so with the white wine it was Delicious! Oh and I added extra cream. Much creamier texture!

The chicken was tender and the sauce delicious! We used 1 tsp. dried marjoram in place of the fresh sprigs plus an additional 1/2 tsp. at the end.

Love this recipe... it's a family staple; usually make it with three small (Gala) apples, and only use one bottle of cider, just short of recommended amount I think. Still plenty of sauce.

This is easy cookin' and good tastin'. However, it's not so good lookin'...everything is beige. If that doesn't matter to you, give it a try. The hard cider flavor is great!

Very good. Next time I would add another apple.

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