Chicken Normandy

Did something new tonight - Chicken Normandy.  There seems to be a bit of confusion as to what is authentic chicken normandy.  Everyone has their own version and claims it to be the real one. So, which one to do?

Simple answer? Own it - make it your's.

[caption id="image_141" align="aligncenter" width="950" caption="Hasselblad 503cw 80mm 2.8 with #16 tube; Imacon Ixpress v96c; f11 @125th 50iso; barndoor"]Hasselblad 503cw 80mm 2.8 with #16 tube; Imacon Ixpress v96c; f11 @125th 50iso; barndoor'd strobe behind plate; shoot thru umbrella camera left for fill[/caption]

  • 4 chicken thighs, trimmed and looking pretty, patted down so they're dry and ready for seasoning
  • 1 T peanut oil
  • 1-2 apples, skinned, cored, and chopped into 1/2" wedges (I used Granny Smiths); choose how many apples you want
  • 1 large shallot, or a small onion, minced (I prefer shallots as they are not as onion-ey)
  • 1/2c. heavy cream
  • 1/4c bourbon (apple cognac can be substituted and would be encouraged)
  • 1 tsp. thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1-2 tsp. cider vinegar (for taste - if you used apple infused cognac, maybe skip this step?)
  1. Pat chicken dry and season, while heating oil in large skillet over medium-high until shimmering.
  2. Cook chicken skin down until well browned. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until chicken reads 160 degrees, about 15 minutes. Move chicken to plate and tent with aluminum foil.
  3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from pan. Add apples and shallots and cook until beginning soft, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat and add bourbon (CAREFUL! It could still become a Flambé - not good for eyebrows).
  4. Simmer until liquid is slightly thickened. Add cream, chicken juices from plate, thyme , and mustard and simmer, until sauce is thickened and apples are tender.
  5. Off heat, stir in apple vinegar to taste.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour mixture over chicken and serve.

This dish was scrumptious! I will definitely make it again.  It seems to be one of those recipes that can take a lot of personal flair, hence the many different "authentic" recipes out there.  Feel free to play with it!!!

For lighting, I did something a bit different than my usual "au naturel" window lighting, with results I LOVE.  Lots of delicious highlights, lots of great texture and yumminess.

I used a bare prophoto strobe with a 7" reflector and added a set of barndoors to control the spill.  This also allowed me to backlight the dish heavily while keeping the flare from hitting the camera lens.  I added a shoot-through-umbrella for a bit of fill - something punchier and more filling than a regular umbrella.

This is definitely a FALL recipe, but if you decide to make it, let me know how you do it! Love variation :)