Story and photography by Margo Greenman
Cider is a sweet and beautiful thing. But it isn’t always sweet and doesn’t have to taste sweet either. Sometimes the best savory dishes are those that are laced with the slightest hint of fruit, chocolate, caramel or other flavors you would likely find on the dessert menu. When used in moderation, these flavors can subtly change the flavor profile to your favorite dishes, transforming them from good to great.
Using hard apple cider, like Seattle Cider Company’s Semi Sweet Hard Cider, to braise meats like poultry is a great way to add delicious flavor to your meal, all while ensuring the juicy tenderness of each bite. But, don’t limit yourself to just apple. With myriad cider types and varieties available, you can explore flavors like pear, apricot and black currant or even habanero, perfect for adding a sweet, fiery kick to your cuisine.
I made this Braised Cider Chicken with Herbs using a cilantro, lemon, chili powder rub, but you can experiment with any of your favorite seasonings. Sage, thyme and dill would all pair well with Seattle Cider’s Semi Sweet Hard Cider. Get creative, have fun, and cheers!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40-60 minutes
1 chicken, split (two chicken halves)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 cloves garlic
½ cup Seattle Cider Co.’s Semi Sweet Hard Cider
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small bowl, combine cilantro, salt, chili powder, pepper, 3 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice. Evenly coat chicken halves in olive oil, cilantro lemon, herb mixture, making sure that each chicken half is well coated.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once heated, add garlic and chicken halves, cooking chicken on each side until golden brown (about 1–2 minutes per side).
Transfer chicken halves (and garlic) to baking pan with lid or cover. Add ½ cup cider. Cover and bake for 40–60 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to take the lid off the meat at about 30 minutes in so that the cider, garlic, herbs and juices from the chicken cook down slightly into a gravy. You can baste your chicken with this gravy, or pour it over mashed potatoes.
Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. Once chicken has cooled slightly, carve and enjoy along sides like mashed potatoes, asparagus, a fresh garden salad, or your favorite veggies.