Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Chicken Breasts Poached in Apple Cider with Chestnuts

Chicken is an excellent choice for Christmas dinner or lunch, especially for those people who may not be big fans of turkey. Chicken can, however, present a similar problem to turkey when cooking for only one or two in that far too much will remain in the form of leftovers, unless an extremely small bird can be obtained. Today's recipe focuses on cooking chicken breasts with a Christmas twist, quoted in the quantities required to serve one person.


Two small chicken breasts (skin on)
6 chestnuts
1 medium carrot
1 Granny Smith apple
Half a medium white onion
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 pint fresh chicken stock or broth
1/2 pint apple cider
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Chopped chives to garnish


Chestnuts roasting on an open fire are words contained in a popular Christmas song and also represent an extremely tasty way of cooking chestnuts. In this instance, however, the chestnuts are poached. SImply bring a pot of salted water to a boil and make a couple of small cuts in the chestnuts before adding them to the water and simmering for ten minutes. Drain the chestnuts and peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Do not let them cool too much or the shells will harden again and make the process nigh on impossible. Cover the chestnuts and set aside.

Put about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large frying pan and bring up to heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and quickly seal on both sides and the edges. Remove to a plate.

Peel and roughly chop the carrot. Chop the onion in half again. Add them to the pan along with the herbs and stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Return the chicken breasts to the pan, skin side up.

Pour in the chicken stock and the cider. Peel and remove the core from the apple. Roughly chop and add it to the pan. The idea is for the apple to break down and thicken the stock. Turn up the heat until the liquid begins to simmer. Reduce the heat and place the lid on the pan for twenty minutes.

Remove the chicken breasts to a heated plate. Ensure the juices run clear and that they are fully cooked. Cover with foil to rest. Turn up the heat to bring the stock to a rapid boil and add the chestnuts. Reduce for ten minutes and check for seasoning.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the solids to a serving plate. Slice each chicken breast at an angle in to three and arrange on top.

Spoon a little of the stock over the chicken breasts and garnish with the chopped chives.

If you're looking for aeasonal s beer to serve with this dish, why not try to get hold of some chestnut beer? If you live in the UK, you can get this particular brew from your local Morrisons store in the lead up to Christmas.


  1. That looks terrific and simple enough for me to manage but I didn't have any chicken or chestnuts, but I did have 3 litres of White Lightning cider so I drank that until I was too drunk to be hungry. Thanks! I hope to get some more ideas from here in the future.

  2. Thank you, Anton. I am glad this was...ahhh... useful to you, in at least some respect. Hope you do find some suitable ideas in future and thanks for stopping by :)