Creamy Chicken in sautéed with apple cider and calvados in a Le Creuset cast iron pan, garnished with three leaves of basil and set on a wooden table.

Creamy Sautéed Chicken With Cider and Calvados

If you’ve ever wondered why there’s so much cream in French recipes, Normandy is to blame. This is where the best cream comes from in France, and it got the rest of us completely addicted. Normandy is also the French headquarters of apples, Calvados and hard apple cider. If you haven’t tried Calvados before, it’s a strong apple brandy enjoyed as a digestif in France but also features heavily in Norman recipes. This dish is a fine example of how the Normans bring these ingredients together for an explosion of flavor.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4


For the Chicken

  • 2 lb (1 kg) chicken pieces (breast, thighs or legs)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp (8 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (120 ml) hard apple cider

For the Garnish

  • 2 apples
  • 5 button mushrooms stalks removed, quartered
  • ¼ cup (60 g) butter, divided
  • 5.5 oz (150 g) bacon, cut into medium-sized strips (lardons)

For the Sauce

  • 2 tbsp (20 g) finely diced shallot
  • 2 tbsp 30 ml Calvados
  • ½ cup 120 ml hard apple cider
  • ¾ cup 200 ml heavy cream or crème fraiche

Mise en Place

  • You will need a Dutch oven or cast-iron pot. Season the chicken and lightly dust withthe flour. Peel, core and halve the apples. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). 


  • To make the chicken, in the pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat and sear the chicken, turning the pieces over regularly to achieve an even, golden color. Pour the cider over the chicken, then cover and cook for 35 to 40 minutes in the oven. The chicken breasts will cook faster than the rest, so remove them after 15 minutes and set aside covered with foil.
    While the chicken cooks, prepare the garnish. In a medium-sized skillet, sauté the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons (30 g) of the butter over medium heat until golden, then set aside. Use the same pan to panfry the lardons until golden and add them to the resting mushrooms. Now cut the apples into thin slices and in a nonstick skillet, sauté them over medium heat in the remaining butter for 5 minutes, or until lightly colored.
    By now the chicken should be cooked. Remove the pot from the oven and ladle out the remaining chicken pieces and set them aside with the breasts. When done, transfer all the cooking juice to a small bowl.
    To make the sauce, place the same pot over medium-high heat and add the shallot. Cook for 1 minute before adding the Calvados and the cider. Scrape the bottom of the pot gently with a spoon and let the liquid reduce for 3 minutes, or until it becomes somewhat syrupy. Add the reserved chicken-cooking juices and the cream and reduce again for 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
    Lower the heat to medium and stir in the bacon and mushrooms along with half of the sautéed apples. Follow by adding the chicken pieces along with any accumulated juices, and adjust the seasoning.
    Finally, allow the chicken to warm up in the sauce for 5 minutes before serving on a dish, garnished with a scattering of sautéed apples.


For an elegant dinner menu serve this with Potatoes Boulangère and a traditional Basque Cake With Black Cherry Jam.
Read more about The French Cooking Academy and purchase their cookbook, published by Page Street Publishing Co. 


French Cooking Academy

The French Cooking Academy was founded by Stephen Nguyen and Kate Blenkiron. Stephane is dedicated to making French cuisine accessible to home cooks everywhere. He stumbled upon the idea of French Cooking Academy almost by accident several years ago. As a Frenchman living in Oz, he yearned for the delicious flavors of his motherland and set out to master the art of French cooking in his own kitchen. What began as a bit of fun documenting his journey on an iphone has now grown into an acclaimed online cooking school with thousands of students from all over the world. Kate is the producer and creative director behind the scenes working hard to bring our content to life, from content planning to recipe writing and everything in between. Oh, and she’s the photographer behind all the mouth-watering photos you see on this website.

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