My family history is deeply rooted in the Normandy region of France which is located NW of Paris about an hour and half. This region is known as the land of the four C's: Camembert, Cider, Cream and Calvados (apple brandy) and most recipes incorporate one or as many as all four into a dish. This is an excellent representation of this beautiful region.
4 tablespoons butter
2 firm cooking apples - core and slice into wedges with peels - Fuji is best, don't use red delicious,
Flour for dredging
4 chicken leg quarters
French Fleur de Sel Sea Salt
1 large onion, peeled, sliced lengthwise (root to top) into wedges
1/2 cups apple brandy (French Calvados is the most authentic if you have it)
2 cups apple cider (not juice)
1 teaspoon Dried French Thyme
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Sprinkle salt over the chicken pieces and let sit for 15-20 minutes at room temperature while you prep the other ingredients and sauté the apples in the next step.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Heat 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large, oven-proof sauté pan over medium heat. Add the apple slices and sauté until they turn a little brown around the edges, turning occasionally. Sprinkle the apple slices with a little salt and set aside on paper towels to drain to absorb excess moisture.
Dredge the chicken in flour and place the pieces in the sauté pan, skin side down. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter.
Cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes on medium to medium-high heat on each side. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the onions in an even layer in the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, until they just being to brown, about 5-8 minutes.
Add the brandy to the pan to deglaze. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any remaining browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the brandy boil until it has reduced by about half. Add the apple cider and bring it to a boil and sprinkle in the thyme and a pinch of salt.
Place chicken on onions skin side up and place in the oven and cook at 375°F, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven.
Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set aside.
Place the pan on the burner on high heat. Add the apples and boil down the sauce by half. When the sauce reduces to the point where it's a little syrupy, add the cream and turn down the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, spoon some apples and onions on the plate, top with a piece of chicken and spoon sauce over the top.