Cider-Braised Drumsticks With Bacon, Fennel and Apples
Note: Look for sweet or semisweet cider. From “Food52 Dynamite Chicken,” by Tyler Kord.
• 4 oz. bacon, sliced into 2-in. pieces
• 8 chicken drumsticks, about 2 lb.
• 4 garlic cloves, smashed
• 1/2 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
• 2 Gala apples, peeled and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges
• 1 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 c. hard cider
• Roasted potatoes, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until brown and a little crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
Pour the remaining bacon fat into a large ovenproof sauté pan or Dutch oven and put it on the stove over medium-high heat (use a fresh pan to prevent the chicken skin from sticking to the bottom while crisping up, which is annoying). When the fat starts to smoke, add the drumsticks and cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side.
Add the garlic to the pan and cook until lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the bacon, fennel, apples and salt and give everything a good stir. Continue cooking on high heat for 5 minutes more, until the fennel is looking translucent and is soft to the touch, and the apples start to caramelize. Add the cider, scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze, bring the mixture to a boil, turn off the heat and transfer the pan to the oven, uncovered.
Cook the chicken and vegetables for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the chicken looks dark and the liquid has reduced by half. Really, you could pull it out after 30 minutes (or as soon as an instant-read thermometer shows an internal chicken temperature of 165 degrees), but use the longer time if you want the meat falling apart. Serve with roasted potatoes alongside.