Cider Braised Chicken with Sage and Apples

This is one of those dishes that rich and complex, but kept light with subtle apple accents. So you get to eat up to 3 portions and still never feel like a cow. The apple cider lends a spritely, fruity zest to the braise, while cream mellows it out into a luscious gravy.  

Ingredients (feeds 3-4):
4 whole chicken thighs (apportion 1 piece per pax)
1 15cm-length chorizo sausage, casing removed, diced into 1" cubes (leave this out if catering to Muslims)
3 slices streaky bacon (ok to increase to 6 slices if a bacon lover, or leave it out completely if catering to Muslims)
2 apples, cut to half inch slices (I used the fuji varietal here)
2 shallots, minced finely
2 cups hard apple cider (I used a 5.2% ABV medium-dry hard apple cider, but feel free to swop this out with a non-alcoholic cider)
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 cup fresh sage leaves
3 tbsp whole double cream

1) Sear chicken in heated pan on medium-high heat, about 5 minutes each side till browned, salting liberally.

2) Set aside and reserve.

3) In the meantime, crisp bacon in another pan, about 2 minutes on each side on medium-high heat. Set aside, cut into 1" cubes and reserve.

4) Using the bacon pan, brown chorizo until just before sausage juices start running, about 4 minutes. Set aside and reserve.

5) With the chicken pan, pour off most of the chicken fat, leaving behind about 1 tbsp chicken fat, and fry shallots until softened, about 2 minutes.

6) Add cider.

7) Add mustard, stirring it into the cider.

8) Return chicken to pan, and top up with stock until the liquid level just almost covers the top of the chicken.

9) Add sage.

10) Return bacon to pan. Bring to a rolling boil before lowering to a simmer for 40 minutes till fall-off-the-bone tender.

11) In the meantime while chicken is simmering, using the bacon-chorizo pan, caramelize apples in the bacon-chorizo fat, about 5 minutes. Set aside and reserve.

12) Add cream just before serving.

13) Stir cream into sauce, and serve steaming hot with apples, chorizo and additional sprinkles of sage. 

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