4 tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Arkansas Black
1 stick butter
½ cup apple brandy
Pour the apple cider into a large sauce pan. Over medium-low heat, reduce the cider to 2 cups. Strain the reduced cider to remove any sediment & set aside. This may be done a day or so ahead & refrigerated until ready to use.
Trim any fat from the chicken breasts. Generously salt & pepper the chicken. Heat a large dutch or french oven with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, then place the breasts, about 3 or 4 at a time, to sear the breasts. Be sure not to crowd the chicken...leave room between the breasts, otherwise they will steam & you will not achieve the nice sear or caramelization you desire. When seared, remove to a bowl that will collect the juices released from the meat.
Deglaze the pan with the Moonshine...be sure to use a wooden spatula to scrape every bit of yumminess from the bottom of the pan.
Chop the onion, then sauté in the deglazed pan until softened & slightly caramelized. Preheat your oven to 300˚.
Add the apple brandy, chicken stock, reduced cider, cinnamon, poultry seasoning & red pepper flakes to the onions. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken, cover tightly with a lid, and transfer to your oven. Braise for 2-3 hours.
When ready to serve, remove the chicken from the oven & transfer the chicken to a ovenproof plate, cover with foil & reduce the oven temperature to the warm setting...this will keep the chicken warm while you reduce the sauce & make the sautéed apples. To reduce the sauce, simply place the dutch oven over medium-high heat & bring the sauce to a boil...reduce the heat to medium, & stirring occasionally, reduce the volume by half.
While the sauce is reducing, prepare the sautéed apples...using your OXO apple slicer, core & slice, then peel, the apples.
Melt the butter in a sauté pan & add the apple slices. Do not sauté the apples...allow the apples to caramelize over medium to medium-low heat, then gently turn the apples to caramelize both sides of each apple slice...this takes about 3-4 minutes per side...be careful not to let the apples burn!
Once the apples are beautifully caramelized, add the apple brandy & ignite...let the alcohol burn off while you gently swirl the pan, then allow the apples & brandy to simmer together for an additional 2-3 minutes.
To serve, place a breast on each dinner plate...or a ½-breast, depending on the individual appetites of your guests...add about 4 apple slices & spoon the reduced sauce over the chicken & sautéed apples...voilà...serve with roasted garlic sweet potato mash & kale prosciutto gratin & enjoy!
"easy" pearl...if you do not have a tight-fitting lid, cover the pan or dutch oven with aluminum foil, then cover with your lid...if you wish to braise longer, I tend to reduce the oven temperature to 250-275˚ & braise for 4-5 hours...