Strongbow Cider continues to delight its fans, serve with my Poulet Vallée d’Auge…

Strongbow Cider, perfect for Summer

When I lived in England some 50 years ago, Sunday morning was the time to go to the Markham Arms in Chelsea, on the corner of the Square where I lived and bang on the King’s Road. Surely the most fashionable road in London at the time. More so than Carnaby Street. Strongbow Cider was the order of the day reading the wonderful Sunday Newspapers with which that country is blessed, even today.

Strongbow Apple Ciders come in three flavours

Strongbow Dry Cider
Pale straw in the glass. Wonderfully appley aromas. Pleasantly sparkling, palate filling dry and smooth. Lovely finish.

Strongbow Gold Apple
Pale gold in the glass. Aromas of yellow apples. Vibrant sparkling. excellent mid palate. Smooth with a semi sweet finish. Real apple drink.

Strongbow Red Berries
Beautiful ruby in the glass. Whiffs of both red apples and summer berries. On the palate both the crisp apples and the sappy berries are present and in harmony. This is a truly delicious refreshing drink.

The finest dish of Poulet Vallée d’Auge I have eaten was made by Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris in the 1970s. He was the 1st Baronet Harris and Marshal of the Royal Air Force and Commander in Chief of the Bomber Command during the Second World War. He was a frequent visitor to South Africa and stayed with friends. He was as good a cook as he was an Airman. This dish was one of his favourites. Watching a world-famous person cooking lunch is a special treat.

The Vallée d’Auge is near Caen in Basse-Normandy. Normandy is the province of apples, cider, Calvados, dairy {fabulous Camembert] and no wine grapes.

Poulet Vallée d’Auge

Poulet Vallée d’Auge

What you’ll need
3 Tbs Rio Largo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbs butter
4 chicken Marylands, drumstick and thigh together
2 onions, finely chopped
60ml Calvados or brandy
One bottle Strongbow Dry Cider
500g small Portobello Mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 Tbs dried French Tarragon
250ml Sour Cream
250ml Double Cream
4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled & cut into quarters & keep in acidulated water until ready for use
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

What you’ll do
Set the oven at 160C. In a large enameled cast iron casserole, heat the olive oil gently and add the butter. Over low heat brown the chicken on both sides and remove to a separate dish, keep any juices which might come off. Now, add a bit mor butter if you feel it is needed and over very low heat, braise the onions until golden brown. Salting them lightly at first helps with dehydration. Return the chicken pieces to the casserole. Pour in the Calvados or Brandy and set alight. Stand back well. The flames should not last for too long. If you want to stop the conflagration, then put the lid on the casserole for a short while. Pour over the cider and add the mushrooms and the tarragon. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat and place a kitchen paper cartouche over the chicken, using the lid as a guide to cutting it.  Put the lid on and place in the centre of the oven. After 45 minutes, add the cream and continue cooking in the oven, lid on for a further 30 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Meantime cook the apples in some butter in a sauté pan until golden. Remove the chicken from the casserole and keep warm. Bring the sauce to the boil, add the apples and reduce if you would like to. Serve the chicken in a deep dish with the sauce poured over the top.

Serves 4, with steamed Basmati Rice…


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