Recipe: chicken stewed with cider and apples

I'M NOT EVEN going to try and take credit for this recipe, other than the addition of garlic.  It comes from one of my favourite chefs Jose Pizarro's latest book Basque.  I've made this recipe a few times while entertaining and it always goes down a storm.  Perfect for a change to the old Sunday roast. The beauty of this dish is that it doesn't take much effort whatsoever.

This book really transports me back to touring northern Spain a couple of years ago, enjoying the culinary offers of San Sebastian and Bilbao in particular.  Food has the unique ability to evoke memories and that's exactly what Basque does.

Serve this with some patatas bravas and slices of a good sourdough loaf.

For me, if you find a great recipe it deserves to be shared, so here you go!


1 medium (1.3 - 1.5kg) free-range chicken
4 apples, peeled and quarters
2 onions, finely sliced
500ml, cider
2 bay leaves
6 sage leaves
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves, garlic
75g sultanas
400ml chicken stock
25g butter
Rapeseed oil
1 tsp caster sugar
Sea salt and pepper


1) Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Heat a heavy-based casserole dish on the hob. Melt the butter and add a splash of rapeseed oil.  Season the chicken inside and out then brown all over.

2) Set the chicken a side and sweat the onions for 8-10 mins.  Add the garlic, sage leaves, bay and the cinnamon stick.  Place one of the quartered apples into the cavity and return the chicken to the pan. Add the cider and bring to a gentle bubble, add the stock along with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Place in the oven for 45 mins.

3) Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a pan with a splash of oil. Add the apple quarters and the sugar. Cook until caramelised and add the sultanas. Add to the chicken around half way through the cooking time. Raise the heat to 200C and take the lid off for ten mins to brown the chicken. Take out of the dish an allow to rest for five mins before serving.

4) While resting, ladle some of the cooking liquor into a saucepan and reduce on a rapid heat.  Carve the chicken and serve with some of the apple, onion and sultana mix.  

Basque is available to purchase by following this link