I often get sad in the grocery store during the winter. It is usually a freezing cold walk from the parking lot, then once I get in the store, my produce options are limited.  I miss the bounty of the summer fruits and vegetables. I tend to fall into a rut of having broccoli and cauliflower every single night. (Don’t get me wrong, I love both vegetables!) This year I am going to beat the winter blues by taking sturdy, ever present apples off the produce shelves and turn them into a fun unique dinner. This recipe is a slightly modified gem from Better Homes and Gardens.

Apple Cider Chicken www.sweetteasweetie.com

Apple Cider Chicken

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter

3 red or green cooking apples, cored, each cut into 8 wedgesApple Cider Chicken www.sweetteasweetie.com

6 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup apple cider

1/4 cup apple brandy

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup nonfat sour cream

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat half of the oil and half of the butter over medium heat until bubbly. Add apples; saute for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a platter; set aside.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high. Add remaining oil and butter to skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add half of chicken to skillet; cook about 5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer chicken to platter with apples. Repeat with remaining chicken. Wipe out skillet. Return all chicken to skillet.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together cider, brandy, and cinnamon; add to skillet. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, turning chicken halfway through cooking. Add apples to skillet; cover and cook about 20 minutes or until apples are tender and chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F in breasts, 180 degrees F in thighs and drumsticks). Transfer chicken and apples to a serving platter; keep warm.
  4. Bring liquid in skillet to a boil. Boil gently until it barely coats bottom of skillet. Remove from heat; whisk in sour cream until well blended. Return chicken and apples to skillet. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until heated through.

Apple Cider Chicken www.sweetteasweetie.com

 This dish is warm and hearty without being loaded with calories. I like to make it in my cast iron skillet. It just brings out so many more complex flavors. The apple brandy that I used, you may recognize from my Christmas Gift Guide. 

Napa Valley Distillery Apple Brandy www.sweetteasweetie.com

My other two favorite ways of using apples:

Apple Butter – I used this Southern treat as favors at our wedding! Stay posted for this delicious recipe.

Apple Butter Wedding Favors Rebecca Keeling Studios www.sweetteasweetie.com

Apple Cider

In between running around getting a million things done for my wedding and the rehearsal dinner, I took my bridesmaids to the Albemarle CiderWorks, an apple cider distillery down the road from our rehearsal dinner. As Albemarle CiderWorks says “There is perhaps no fruit as closely associated with the American landscape as the apple. Historical records indicate that it was “one of the first crops introduced to American shores by colonists from England and western Europe” (Ben Watson,”Cider Hard and Sweet”, 1st ed), and by the end of the nineteenth century, over 1000 different distinctly American apple cultivars were being grown.” Virginia is such a history filled state. I wanted my California bridesmaids to be able to experience the vintage and heirloom apples in the best way! We had such a good time relaxing and sampling the various historic apple varietals in cider form. If you are ever in the Charlottesville area, I highly recommend stopping in for a visit!

Albemarle CiderWorks Cider Tasting Charlottesville, Va www.sweetteasweetie.com

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

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