Poulet Vallée D’Auge is named for the Pays d’Auge region in Normandy, which is known for its apples (and Calvados). It’s primarily served as a Sunday dish or as part of a celebratory dinner, but you don’t need a special occasion to make this dish yourself at home. There are multiple incarnations of the dish – the original generally uses a roux and homemade stock as well as a full chicken which is broken into pieces, with a few aromatic vegetables such as carrots, leaks and mushrooms.
When shopping for ingredients, keep in mind that the “cider” called for in this recipe is actually a dry hard cider- Calvados is distilled from cider, after all. For an extra authentic touch, try to use a god French cider. If you can’t get a good cider, I recommend just swapping it out with some additional stock- don’t substitute in a nonalcoholic apple cider, as it won’t work in this recipe (save the sweet spiced cider for mulling after dinner). If you can’t find French Calvados, Applejack (its American cousin) is a close approximation, but the flavor isn’t quite the same. You could also substitute a normal brandy or a sherry in place of the Calvados, but you’ll be missing out on the complex apple-brandy flavor of the Calvados.
To safely flambé, use a long reach lighter and work in small batches so the flames don’t engulf the pan (keep a heavy lid close on hand just in case the flames get a little too high).
This recipe makes eight servings.
- 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 3 firm, tart apples (such as Pink Lady or Braeburn; about 1 lb.), peeled, cored, quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 3½–4-lb. chickens, quartered
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise ¼” thick
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- ¼ cup Calvados (apple brandy)
- ¾ cup apple cider (hard cider, preferably dry)
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves (preferably Turkish)
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ pound crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, trimmed, halved
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- 1 large egg yolk
Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add apples and cook, turning occasionally, until golden in spots, 10–12 minutes. Transfer apples to a plate and set aside.
Increase heat to medium-high and add oil and 1 Tbsp. butter to pot. Season chicken with salt and pepper and, working in batches, cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to another plate; set aside.
Add leek and shallots to pot; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat, add Calvados, and ignite with a long match or lighter. After flames die down, return pot to heat and add cider. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
Return reserved chicken to pot and add thyme, bay leaves, and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer, adding reserved apples back to pot halfway through, until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and softened, 6–8 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mushrooms to a plate.
Whisk crème fraîche and egg yolk in a small bowl. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and apples to a baking sheet and remove pot from heat. Whisk crème fraîche mixture into cooking liquid in pot. Gently mix in chicken, apples, and mushrooms.
Do Ahead: Chicken and apples can be cooked 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Cook mushrooms and finish sauce just before serving.
last updated August 17, 2023