Chicken Normandy recipe with cider, apples & cream

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A classic French chicken Normandy recipe

This chicken Normandy recipe (or chicken a la Normande) is a hearty French casserole that is perfect for this autumnal weather. Chicken braises slowly with bacon and cider until meltingly delicious. Finished off with pan-fried caramelised apple wedges and cream, it’s every bit as delicious as it sounds.

A classic French chicken Normandy recipe

When Leopard’s Leap approached me to do a dish to pair with their 2020 Culinaria Chenin Blanc, I knew this was the one. I have wanted to create it for the longest time. 

This elegant full-bodied wine with vibrant acidity stands up to the rich cream sauce and the sweetness of the apples. The time spent in wood gives it the requisite structure to be a great food companion.

Leapard's Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc

A good chicken casserole is defined by the softness of the meat which should be just about to fall off the bone. Therefore bone-in and skin-on chicken should always be used. You can use a mixture of thighs and legs or all thighs. Or do as I did and joint a whole chicken. I love to have a carcass to make chicken stock.

There is enough sauce in this recipe for ten pieces of chicken. I know eight is the standard called for to feed four people but ten is better. I used one chicken and 2 extra thighs.

A classic French chicken Normandy recipe

Tips for making a chicken Normandy recipe

  • Being classically French, shallots are always better here but use onions if you can’t find them.
  • Use a dry cider, preferably a craft one. What you put in is what you get out.
  • I used the very thick Dalewood Fromage Crème Fraiche and it’s perfect with this dish. The extra creaminess and slight hit of acid offsets the sweetness of the apples. Use double cream as a substitute.
  • For the apples, I used Pink Lady for the sweetness, but a sharper Granny Smith would also work well.
  • Thyme and bay are the herbs of choice. If you don’t feel like stripping off all the leaves, just pop a few whole stalks which can be removed at the end.
  • I have cooked this in the oven, but it could just as easily bubble away on the stovetop. I like to brown the chicken in the last 10 minutes of cooking and prefer this to run the risk of the bottom catching with the long cook.
  • A cast-iron lidded pot/skillet is perfect for this dish, but if you don’t have one, you can make it in a large non-stick pan and then decant it into a casserole dish and cover it with foil for the oven part.

Chicken Normandy casserole with caramelised apples

What to eat with this Chicken Normandy recipe?

Here are a few ideas for side dishes that would complement the flavours of this dish:

  1. Mashed Potatoes: The creamy texture of mashed potatoes pairs perfectly with the rich and savoury flavours of Chicken Normandy.
  2. Roasted Vegetables: A side of roasted carrots, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts would add some colour and nutrients to your meal while providing a nice contrast to the rich and sweet flavours of the chicken.
  3. Green Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing would provide a refreshing and crunchy complement to the rich and creamy chicken dish.
  4. Crusty Bread: A crusty baguette or French bread would be perfect for mopping up the delicious sauce that accompanies the chicken.
  5. Rice or Noodles: A serving of rice or egg noodles would be a great way to soak up the flavorful sauce and make the dish more filling.

Remember, when serving Chicken Normandy, it’s always a good idea to have a light and refreshing side dish to balance out the rich and savoury flavours of the chicken.

A rustic mash would be better than a soft mash here as you want some texture with this dish. Roast potatoes or wedges could also be nice. Try either of these potato dishes of mine:

Leapard's Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc

For more Chicken recipes:

Creamy chicken and mushrooms

Creamy chicken with braised leeks and carrots

Roast chicken and Italian sausage with herbs and orange

Coq au Chardonnay

Chicken Marbella

Recipes that would pair well with the Culinaria:

The most delicious cheese and onion quiche

Recipe – serves 4

Chicken Normandy recipe

A classic French chicken Normandy recipe with pan-fried caramelised apples.
Print Recipe
A classic French chicken Normandy recipe
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour


  • 8 – 10 chicken pieces thighs & legs, bone-in & skin on
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 2 onions or 4 medium shallots chopped
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 200 gms streaky bacon chopped (chopped bacon lardons would also work)
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 30 ml brandy optional
  • 300 ml dry cider
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme leaves stripped from stalk
  • ½ cup or 125ml crème fraiche or thick/ double cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 apples such as Pink Lady cored and cut into 8 wedges (skin on)
  • Chopped parsley to serve optional


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F
  • Heat a large, lidded casserole dish or non-stick frying pan and add a good splash of olive oil. Season the chicken well with salt and white pepper and brown in the pan, skin side down until golden on both sides. About 8 – 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add the bacon and cook until the fat has started to render but it is not brown. About 3 minutes. Add the chopped onions and celery and sauté until translucent. About 3 – 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook briefly for about 30 seconds stirring constantly (make sure this does not burn).
  • Sprinkle over the flour and cook for a minute until absorbed. Add the brandy if you are using it and stir briefly. Then add the cider and bring this to a rapid bubble. Add the stock, thyme, and bay leaves and cook this for a few minutes until reduced by about a third.
  • Add the chicken back into the pan with any juices and put on the lid and roast in the oven for 35 minutes.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and take off the lid. Spoon out the chicken and set it aside. With the casserole dish back on the stovetop, stir the crème fraiche through the sauce and bring it to a bubble briefly. Place the chicken pieces back in the sauce with the skin side up.
  • Return the casserole to the oven with the lid off for a further 10 minutes.
  • Whilst the chicken is finishing off in the oven, heat a non-stick pan and melt the butter. Gently fry the apple slices until golden on each side.
  • Serve the casserole with the caramelised apple slices scattered on top with chopped parsley (optional). Serve with crusty bread to mop up the sauce (or with rice or mashed potatoes).
Servings: 4
Author: Sam Linsell


*This post is proudly sponsored by Leopard’s Leap




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  1. This is absolutely stunning. I don’t know if I’ve seen this dish with apple slices included. I even have some calvados… but this recipe will have to wait a few months! It’s so hot now. We were in South Africa in may – visited Grootbos nature preserve and then wined our way around Stellenbosch. the food! The wine!!! what a lovely country you live in!

  2. Thanks Mimi and so glad you had a great time in South Africa. It really is quite a special place.

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