A few days ago my good friend “Bripadme” posted a recipe for Apple-Braised Chicken, and, since I happened to have most of the ingredients on hand, I decided I had to try it.

I didn't have any cornstarch, so used flour to make the gravy at the end, but other than that, I stayed essentially true to the recipe. Of course, I cook loosely – I don't measure spices, and I make adjustments as I go, preferring to believe that recipes are guidelines, not requirements. Still, it was a satisfying, and relatively easy, dinner that was perfect with glasses of cold cider, and steamed carrots (also with ginger to carry the theme through) on this chilly November evening.

The dogs got the end of the chicken, despite the onion in the recipe, and Cleo was extremely put out that she only got two bites. She wanted more. Evidently, it's a meal the whole family will love. Also, the combination of apples and onions reminds me of my grandfather's turkey stuffing mix, another family recipe. (I might break down and make it at Christmas, because I miss it a lot, so if you live in the DFW area, and want to come to dinner, consider yourself invited.) If I make it again, I think I'll pair it with Near East's Nutted Pilaf – the spices would go well together.

Fuzzy worked from 1 AM through 1 PM today, after putting in most of a day yesterday, so aside from dinner (which we ate while watching Smallville) he's pretty much comatose. I haven't heard from either of the two interviews I had yesterday, but I knew I wouldn't. I've spent the day helping my mother configure her email (I moved her to DreamHost after one too many screaming fits over the funky company she was using that is based in Thailand), and writing and other quiet pursuits.

I like cozy days like this, but I'd have liked it better if the cold weather had come with rain. It's as if the dry weather has made my brain feel parched.

Apple Braised Chicken

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4-oz pieces
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 large onion(s), sliced
2 medium apple(s), firm, cored and sliced
1 cup apple cider
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cornstarch


In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, warm oil over high heat. Toss chicken with flour in a medium bowl, patting off excess. Place chicken in skillet and brown well on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Reduce stove temperature to low and add onion to skillet. Sauté, stirring often, until onion is tender and lightly browned.

Stir in apples, cider, chicken broth, salt, ginger and chicken. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken, onions and apples to a serving dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2 to 3 tablespoons of pan juices. Combine cornstarch mixture with remaining pan juices, whisking constantly. Simmer for one minute. Pour sauce over chicken and serve. Yields 1 chicken breast and about 3/4 cup of apple-onion mixture per serving.

Flavor Booster: Pears and chicken are an appealing combination. Substitute 2 ripe Bartlett or Comice pears, peeled, cored and diced for the apples, 1 cup sparkling pear cider for the apple cider and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg for the ginger.

Rather than tossing the chicken in a bowl, I used a ziploc bag, to which I'd added a bit of flour and a dash of ginger as well as a dash of pumpkin pie spice, because I wanted a bit bolder flavor. This worked really well. Also, I added a dash of pepper to the spices during the simmering stage, and used flour instead of cornstarch to make the gravy.

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