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Continuing a Theme

I really hope you all liked last week's post. Why? Because this week is pretty much a continuation of that deliciousness...kind of. Well, first things first, if you didn't read last week's post but would like to catch up, you can click here to get the flashback. Go on. I'll wait here...

All caught up? Great! Okay, so remember how I got all that beautiful food from the farmer's market (and a few other places)? There's more. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a big proponent of buying local and buying organic. That's why I participate in a CSA for meat. I've mentioned this before, but, in case you aren't familiar with the concept, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. With a CSA, you basically pre-buy meat, vegetables, cheese, whatever. The CSA I've purchased for this season (I test to test several options in all situations before making a final decision) yields about twenty-five pounds of meat a month. That is a lot for two people. Mike and I are probably going to buy a small deep freezer in the next month because we are running out of freezer In each monthly pickup, there are usually two whole chickens, which explains why I most of the recipes I blog about feature chicken. Hey, look, here's one now!

Apple Cider Chicken
From Sunny Anderson

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (ab 2 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 1/4" wedges
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup apple cider

Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, add to pan and sear until golden, about 4 minutes each side. Remove chicken from pan, and set aside. Add remaining butter and onion, apple, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Sauté until apple begins to get color and onions soften, about 6 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Nestle chicken back into pan, add cider, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes.

I've talked about dismantling a chicken a few times in the past, so I've skipped that today. I'll probably revisit it again at some point. Funny story, though, I actually practiced vegetarianism for about two years as a teenager. For someone who refrained from touching meat for so long, I'm pretty efficient at breaking down a chicken. :-)

Every cook's favorite color: Golden brown. I love the kshhhhhhhhh of searing meat.

Think of the gravy like an ugly duckling. It starts out looking a little dodgy, but ends up a beautiful thing.

A Note About Apples: Even if you're not a fan of Granny Smith's, do not substitute another variety here. The Granny Smith's will sweeten up with the cooking and the other ingredients. They will also hold up better than any other variety. Almost any other kind of apple will fall apart in the cooking process, so please stick to the recipe on this point.

Almost done! You'll notice that I used in-bone pieces. I did that for a few reasons. 1) Bones=flavor. I like flavor. 2) I prefer dark meat, and Mike prefers white meat, so this works better for both of us. 3) Did you miss the part about how I get two whole chickens every month? I also kept the skin because I like the skin. I did cook the chicken just a few minutes longer than the recipe called for to make sure it was cooked all the way down to the bone.

Now that is a handsome meal!

Remember these bad boys? Aw, yeah, I brought the Hassel-back, baby. :-) Love these!

A new favorite kitchen gadget--my gravy separator. This keeps the grease on the top of the pitcher.

Bonus: Mike and I had leftover potatoes and chicken, but we eat up veggies fast. Good thing I picked up some beautiful little carrots from Foggy Hollow Farms at the farmer's market. I cut the tops off, peeled the carrots, and then did a quick saute in a wee bit of oil and a squidge of honey. Really yummy!

This is a straight up delicious meal. There's nothing else to be said about it. I think it would be the perfect thing on a crisp, autumn night with a mug of hot cider waiting for dessert.

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