What to Eat in France: Poulet Vallée d’Auge, Normandy Chicken in the Style of the Auge Valley
Apples and cream are a quintessentially Norman flavor combination. This is a festive dish made on Sundays and holidays.
In Normandy, they would traditionally drink it with dry cider or Pommeau, but a fruity white wine such as a Riesling goes well, or even dry white Burgundies. If you prefer red, try a light one, such as Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil or another Loire red.
1 chicken, 3-3/2 lbs.
3 T. butter, salted
1 T. water
2/10 c Calvados or other apple brandy
5 fl. oz. or 3/5 cups crème fraîche
1 egg yolk
Mushrooms (optional), 1 lb.
Flat (Italian) parsley, chopped
Large, deep frying pan
2 large sautée pans
2 pounds cooking apples, sliced and chopped (I leave the peels for added fibre)
3 T. butter, salted
1/3 c. smoked bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 lb. mushrooms, whole
1 T. butter, salted
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. pearl onions, peeled and whole
2 T. butter, salted
- In the Dutch oven, melt the butter. Brown the whole chicken on all sides, turning so that it browns evenly.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add water and simmer slowly on medium low heat with the lid on, adding a little water if necessary, just enough to make sure the bottom of the pan is covered.
- In the large, deep frying pan, melt the butter. Add the bacon and sautée for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the apples. Cook slowly until the apples are very soft and almost falling apart.
- Melt the butter in a large sauté pan and sauté mushrooms over medium heat until soft. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Melt the butter in another large sauté pan and sauté the pearl onions over medium low heat until soft. Add a touch of water if they start to brown too much or stick.
- When the chicken is done, remove it from Dutch oven. Depending on the weight, this will take about 1 1/2 hours. The juices should run clear when you gently separate the leg from the breast.
- Put the chicken into a shallow, heatproof dish for flambéing. Flambé with Calvados.
- Cut the chicken into pieces.
- Over low heat, add cream to Dutch oven. Whip in egg yolk until smooth.
- Return cut-up chicken to the Dutch oven and cover with sauce, turning it carefully several times.
- Add the apples and optional mushrooms and continue turning until mixed thoroughly.
- Pour into a serving dish. Sprinkle with parsley.
- Serve hot with the onions as garnish.