Apples are one of the season’s most versatile cooking ingredients. Pies, crisps, and crumbles notwithstanding, the tasty fruit is also delicious in main dishes ranging from chicken to pork. Try this chicken dish with garlic mashed potatoes or “crushed” potatoes that don’t require peeling. The recipe is served at the Bunratty Castle medieval banquet in Shannon, Co. Clare, and is featured in my newest cookbook, Flavors of Ireland, available in print and now on iTunes!
Bunratty Castle Chicken with Apple Cream Sauce
2 tbsp. salted butter, plus more if needed
4 boneless chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. apple cider
2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup light cream or half-and-half
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
mashed or crushed potatoes (recipe follows)
1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook on one side for 4–6 minutes or until lightly browned. Using tongs, turn the chicken over and cook for 4–6 minutes longer or until internal temperature reaches 165°F/73°C. Transfer the chicken to a plate, cover, and keep warm.
2. Return the skillet to medium heat and stir in the mustard, honey, and cider, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the shallots and apple and cook for 2–3 minutes.
3. Whisk the flour into the pan, cook for 1 minute, and then gradually whisk in the stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 3–5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Stir in the cream and lemon juice. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes longer or until the apple is nearly tender.
4. To serve, put a chicken breast on each of 4 plates and pour the sauce over each. Garnish with parsley and serve with the potatoes.
2 large boiling potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp. olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.
Return them to the same saucepan to dry out a little.
2. With a wooden spoon, roughly mash the potatoes. Stir in the butter and oil and season with salt and pepper. Reheat just before serving.
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Editor's Note: Margaret M. Johnson, of Westhampton Beach, is the author of six cookbooks and her latest cookbook called, Flavors of Ireland was released on Amazon on Feb. 23. For more information, click here.