West Country Chicken

Recipe - Serves 2

6 fat chicken thighs - bones in - gives more flavour to the sauce.
A 500ml bottle of dry cider
4 tablespoons creme fraiche
2 cloves garlic - peeled and chopped
1 onion - diced
a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
a pinch of chilli flakes
a little olive oil
salt and pepper

First heat the oil in a heavy based casserole dish and then place the chicken thighs, skin side down, to sear and colour the skin. Leave then for 4-5 minutes before turning and quickly sealing the underside. If you try to turn them too soon you may rip the skin.

Once the skins are coloured and the underside sealed, lift out and drain of a little of the fat. Return the pan to a medium heat and add the diced onion and garlic. Cook gently until the onion has softened. Turn up the heat and pour in the cider - let it bubble for a few minutes before popping the chicken back in the pan. Sprinkle on the chilli flakes and add the thyme sprigs. Now you can either cover the pan, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and leave to cook on the stove top or you can pop it into a preheated oven - 200 C/Gas 6 - for approx 35 minutes. I've cooked it both ways with the same end results.

Once your happy your chicken is cooked, return the pan to a high heat on the stove and spoon in the creme fraiche - gently stir, with a wooden spoon, to form a sauce and let the pan simmer, with the top off, to reduce the sauce to your desired thickness. If I'm serving the chicken with say jacket potato and salad, I let the sauce reduce right down but if it's being accompanied by rice or pasta I prefer to have more sauce.

Finally finish off with a little salt and pepper.