Apples in a savory dish? Yes! Meat stews that count fruit among the ingredients are lovely, and this chicken apple stew will turn you into a believer. A welcome bonus is that you need only one pan to cook the stew from start to finish.
It begins with seasoning the chicken and leaving it soak up the flavors overnight in the fridge. Don’t skip this part because these are large bone-in pieces of chicken and the meat is thick. That means the chicken needs time to allow the flavors to reach the deepest parts of the flesh.
With the inside of the chicken already flavorful after marinating, we add even more flavor by browning the chicken thighs in butter. We want plenty of Maillard reaction for added flavor, texture and deeper color.
The browned chicken thighs which are only partially cooked leave the pan to rest while we build the flavors for the sauce. Onion, garlic, butter and more Maillard reaction.
Now we add vegetables and seasonings. Those vegetables will liquefy during cooking to provide enough moisture to allow the chicken to cook without scorching. Then, the apple wedges are added along with lemon juice, sugar and whatever marinade was left.
The browned chicken thighs are arranged in the pan in a single layer to make sure they cook evenly. After that, it’s just a matter of waiting until the chicken is cooked through.
Chicken apple stew
- 1 kilogram chicken thighs - skin on
- 2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion - peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 bell peppers - deseeded and diced
- 4 plump tomatoes - diced
- 2 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Wipe the chicken thighs dry with a kitchen towel.
- Mix the chicken with lemon pepper seasoning and Worcestershire sauce.
- Marinate in the fridge for 12 hours (up to 24 hours is okay).
- Melt three tablespoons butter in a thick-bottomed frying pan.
- Brown the chicken thighs on both sides, scoop out and set aside.
- Add the remaining butter to the pan and throw in the chopped onion. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized.
- Add the garlic to the onion, stir and cook for half a minute.
- Throw in the tomatoes and bell peppers. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for half a minute.
- Stir in the apple wedges, lemon juice, sugar and reserved marinade.
- Arrange the chicken in the pan in a single layer. Cover the pan tightly, turn down the heat to low and stew the chicken in apple and vegetable juices until done.
- Off the heat, taste the pan juices and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Depending on your palate, you may want to add more salt, pepper, sugar or lemon juice, or all of them.
- Sprinkle in chopped parsley before serving your chicken apple stew.