Cider Braised Chicken with Spiced Butternut.

How many times have you already heard that it’s the most wonderful time of the year?!

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Because it is. It 100% is.

Can I reserve the right to say that once a month until December? I think. Especially since right now it’s past midnight and I’m trying not to go downstairs and eat peanut butter m&m’s. The whole “go downstairs” part helps with that.

But! That’s not why this is the most wonderful time. You know?

Yeah, I know. It’s pumpkin season but what is even better than pumpkin season is pomegranate season and what is even better than that is APPLE CIDER SEASON.

Oh yes, so much yes. I adore any and all types of cider and better yet: love all things flavored with cider. Like baked goods and candy but more importantly, anything savory. Chicken, steak, potatoes, even brussels sprouts. Whaaaaaat.

While I don’t go too crazy for pumpkin-flavored goods anymore, you can absolutely give me apple cider flavored [insert random food here] and I’ll be down.

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Plus, one of my favorite places makes an apple cider grilling sauce (um, yes, I know, it’s incredible) and when I inevitably go through both jars that I have in my pantry, I’ll need some way to kind of figure it out on my own.

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PLUS: I love a good one pot chicken dish. Um, it’s been over a MONTH since I’ve shared a chicken recipe too. Very unlike me. I keep making things that seem similar and I have no idea what’s behind that other than the fact that mom brain is a thing. We are still eating tonnnnnssss of chicken, if only because I spent so many months being just totally… over it… that now it’s all I want.

Last week I even made chicken noodle soup. It was 87 degrees outside, but whatever. It was delicious.

Then I decided I wanted to make it again this week because we “hadn’t had it in awhile.” Holy freaking mom brain.

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If you want to be super basic like me, grab a trendy and easily loved hard cider that tastes like boozy apple juice. Super crisp while being both sweet AND dry. How do they do that?! Or you can be all hipster fancy and find one that you have to search far and wide for but that no one else will even know about (until you instagram it, duh).

Doesn’t matter – just make sure you like to drink it! Because we’re going to create a lovely little sauce and crisp up the most flavorful chicken and add squash cubes and mushrooms and herbs and even a little mustard because who can live without mustard? No one, that’s who.

This is one of those dishes that works perfectly on it’s on, but would reeeeeally benefit from a mound of mashed potatoes. If you get my drift.

cider braised chicken with butternut I howsweeteats.com

Cider Braised Chicken with Spiced Butternut and Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
a pinch of cinnamon
1 1/2 cups portobello button mushrooms
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 pound chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour + more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups hard cider
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons cream
a few rosemary + thyme sprigs for cooking and garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a large over-safe (preferably cast iron!) skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter each. Toss in the shallots and butternut squash with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the cardamom and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and stir to toss. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the mushrooms slightly soften. Remove the shallots, squash and mushrooms from the skillet and place them in a large bowl off to the side.

Increase the heat until the skillet to medium-high. Stir together the 1/2 cup flour, salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the remaining oil and butter to the hot skillet. Take each piece of chicken and dredge it lightly in the seasoned flour then place it in the skillet. Brown the chicken on all sides until deeply golden. Once finished, remove the chicken from the skillet and place it on a plate.

With the heat still on medium-high, slowly pour in the hard cider which scraping the bottom of the skillet to remove the brown bits of flavor. Stir in the apple cider. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour and the dijon mustard, whisking until combined. Cook the mixture until it is bubbling and reduces by just a third. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream. Place the chicken back in the skillet and cover with the shallots, butternut and mushrooms. Place a few rosemary and thyme sprigs on top. Cover the skillet and place it in the oven. Braise for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

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Now you can have your cider and eat it too.