Autumn has got to be one of the best times of the year to indulge in comfort food.
A slight chill in the air is the perfect excuse for warming platters of homely stews and casseroles and a glut of late summer and early winter crops ensures an abundance of great tasting fresh ingredients.
This is a reliable favourite of mine, and is a great one for informal entertaining on an autumnal weekend.
Free-range chicken with leeks, apple and craft cider
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat half of the butter in a large sauté pan and brown the chicken on both sides. Transfer to a plate and then cook the leeks by browning them in the buttery pan.
- Peel one apple, and then cut into wedges. Melt the remaining butter in a small frying pan before adding the apple and browning gently on each side. Leave to cool and reserve the pan to use later.
- Add the flour to the leeks, turning the leeks over in the juices. Return to the heat, bring to the boil and then add the chicken, thyme sprigs and sautéed apple. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Lift the chick chicken out and simmer the cooking juices until reduced. Add the cream, bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Peel and cut the other apple into wedges and put in the pan in which you cooked the first apple. Add the sugar to help the apple caramalise until tender. Return the chicken to the sauce and heat gentle. Add the second batch of apples and serve.