When local apples start appearing at farmers markets, I tend to experiment with sweet and savory dishes, like this hearty entree that’s great for company. Apples, onions and thyme are a winning autumnal flavor combination, heightened by a generous glug of hard cider and dollop of Dijon. Juicy chicken thighs provide the protein. A few spoonfuls of sour cream stirred into the sauce at the end hints of stroganoff, especially if served over egg noodles as suggested here. This would also be good served over brown or wild rice. –Susan Puckett
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more if needed)
6 whole chicken thighs, skinned, boned and cut in bite-size chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 large or 2 medium cooking apples, cored and sliced ¼ inch thick
2 to 3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
2 bay leaves
12 ounces hard cider
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup sour cream, plus more for serving
16 ounces wide egg noodles
In a large, heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the oil. Season the cut-up chicken lightly with salt and pepper on all sides and saute in the hot butter in batches (add a little more oil if needed) until lightly browned all over. Remove chicken pieces to a plate and set aside, scraping up any browned bits (use a little of the cider to deglaze if necessary.)
Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion and apple slices. Sprinkle with brown sugar, thyme, and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Stir in mustard. Add bay leaves, cider, and chicken broth. Return chicken to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook, uncovered, another 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Taste for seasoning.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and cook according to package directions until tender. Toss with remaining butter.
Just before serving, stir 1/4 cup of sour cream into the chicken and sauce mixture and cook for a minute or two to heat through.
Divide noodles among 6 serving plates. Spoon chicken and sauce over each. Serve with extra sour cream on the side.
Makes 6 to 8 servings