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Author Notes: There's a place in my heart for shallots, braised chicken, apples, cider, and bacon. When I put them all together and add in a little creaminess, thanks to the Dijon mustard and some heavy cream, I swoon. Adapted from Serious Eats, this recipe is a great harmony of fantastic flavors. —Melina Hammer
- 4 whole chicken legs (free range if possible)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil, for sautéing
- 5 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into medium wedges
- 5 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
- 3 pieces bacon, chopped into small pieces
- 1 1/2 cups dry hard cider
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 handful fresh sage leaves
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.
- In a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, 2 tablespoons olive oil. Starting with skin side down, brown the chicken until the skin is deeply golden on all sides. Remove to a platter and set aside.
- Add the apples to the hot chicken fat and sauté until just-caramelized, turning once with tongs. Transfer softened, just-caramelized apples to a separate dish.
- Add shallots and bacon to pan. Stirring occasionally, sauté the mixture until shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the cider. Use tongs to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Whisk in mustard and season with salt and pepper. Snuggle the chicken legs and any accumulated juices into the savory mixture.
- Bring to a simmer, place lid on slightly askew, and lower heat. Cook chicken legs at a low simmer until fork tender, about 25 minutes.
- Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add cream to the pan, whisking to combine, and return to a simmer.
- Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to allow sauce to thicken. Add apples and sage, stir gently to combine, place chicken legs on top, and serve.