I really wanted to find a rabbit from the butcher, this week. Unfortunately, neither of our local butchers had rabbits (Spring Fields only stocked rabbits from China – what’s with that?) so I was left pondering on chicken versus pork as a satisfactory stand-in.
As it turned out, I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer in time, so we got another 5 chicken breasts for £5 and put two of them in the freezer for next week. Far easier than pondering further on what cut of pork to use!
I can quite see how this recipe would be really suited to cooking a rabbit, as the chicken was nice, but rabbit would have lent a rather more earthy flavour to the ensuing sauce. However, a gold star for excellence must be awarded to the Cider I used. It was Sheppey’s Dabinett Cider, a single variety cider that at £1.54 for a 500ml bottle wasn’t the cheapest choice, but equally it could have been worse. However, for flavour, it really was perfect. In fact, by the time hubby and I had had tasties, there was little more than the required 350ml left!
I certainly didn’t miss the rabbit, as the chicken made for an excellent stand-in and we didn’t have to contend with son and heir’s distaste for rabbit. He’s having problems getting past the “fluffy bunny” aspect, you see, but considering he’s just 12 it’s understandable.
One thing to bear in mind with this recipe is that it requires overnight marinating – so you need to have a plan in place and not forget to take the chicken out of the freezer, like I did.
CHICKEN IN CIDER (serves 3)
3 skinless chicken breasts
350ml dry cider
a large onion, sliced
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp plain flour (more = thicker sauce, less = thinner sauce)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
small can red kidney beans, drained
1. Put the chicken pieces into a large bowl with the prunes, cider, onions, mustard, bay leaves and 250ml water. Season and stir gently to mix, then cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
2. The following day, pre-heat your oven to 180deg C/350deg F.
3. Remove the chicken breasts and pat dry with kitchen paper. Whilst the oil and butter heats up in an ovenproof casserole dish, toss the chicken in seasoned flour. Then fry until brown and remove to keep warm.
4. Sprinkle any remaining flour into the casserole and stir round. Pour in the marinade, reserving the prunes. Add the parsnips, return the chicken to the dish and bring to the boil, covered.
5. Once at boiling point, put into the oven and bake for around 40 minutes.
6. Add the prunes and the beans, cover again and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until everything is tender.
Serve with mashed potato and green beans.