Normandy Chicken with Calvados Cream

2010 Sep/Oct

This is a classic Normandy dish.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, preferably free-range
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 4 T. butter
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. calvados
  • 6 large brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 t. chopped fresh tarragon
  • apple wedges (garnish)
  • minced chives (garnish)
  • 4 wedges of camembert (optional)


Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Over medium-high heat, melt 2 T. butter in a skillet large enough to comfortably accommodate the chicken breasts in a single layer. Brown the chicken, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and keep warm. Turn the heat to medium and melt the remaining 2 T. of butter. Sauté the shallots until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, pour in the calvados and carefully ignite it with a long kitchen match. When the flame subsides, return the skillet to the heat, add the mushrooms and cook the sauce 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the wine and let it reduce for 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and tarragon and return the chicken breasts to the pan. Turn the heat to simmer and cook the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes. When you are ready to serve, cut the apple wedges. Serve the chicken with (or over) cooked rice with a sprinkle of chives, and garnish the plate with apple and camembert wedges. Serves 4.