Cider Chicken

Like many French classics, Normandy-style chicken is known for its lavish sauce. Yet it can retain surprisingly rich character even when the sauce is adjusted to meet low-fat criteria. The secret, an unlikely ingredient, is cooked breakfast cereal. It adds more flavor than cornstarch, and the sauce retains its texture with long cooking better than a cornstarch-thickened sauce


Makes 4 servings

Recipe from



1/2 cup minced shallots
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/4 cups cider or apple juice
1/4 cup calvados or brandy
2/3 cup pitted prunes
3/4 cup nonfat milk
3 tablespoons quick-cooking rice cereal
Salt and pepper
4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves, rinsed


1. In an 8- to 10-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, boil shallots, thyme, and 1/2 cup water until pan is dry. Stir often until shallots are light brown, 8 to 10 minutes total.

2. Add cider, calvados, and prunes to pan; bring to a boil. Lift out prunes and set aside. Boil liquid down to 3/4 cup. Add milk and cereal and stir until boiling.

3. In a blender, puree sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. In each of 4 shallow casseroles (5 by 8 in.), place a half breast; cover with sauce.

5. Bake in a 450° oven until meat is white in thickest part (cut to test), about 12 minutes. Add prunes.

March 1998
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