Do you ever have one of those meals that make everything in the world just feel right? I made another one just recently that you can find here. And, well, that's how this one goes.
It was a brisk 78 degree day here in Austin and since the first sight of winter squash, I've been gobbling it up like it's chocolate or something. While grocery shopping the other day, I spotted another fall favorite of mine on the shelves: Apple Cider. Actually, let me up that ante: Spiced Apple Cider. As much as I hate to drink extremely sugary juices (I'd rather eat 5 apples than have a glass of apple juice = more fiber!) I have to make an exception for this one. I grabbed a bottle and have done well at keeping myself restrained in drinking just a little at a time. (Note: I only buy something like this if the ingredients list is JUST fruit/veg + spices! No extra sugar allowed in my juice!)
With this jug of seasonal magic sitting in my fridge, inspiration struck on how I could use it as the perfect braising liquid. Grab your favorite fall veggies and let's make this thing.
5 chicken drumsticks
3 Cups chopped, peeled, butternut squash
2 small potatoes or sweet potatoes
4 stalked celery, chopped
1 1/4 Cup Apple Cider or Spiced Apple Cider
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
a small handful of garlic cloves
2 Tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper
Start by chopping and peeling all the veggies and placing them in a large bowl. You'll want them all in bite size pieces. Preheat oven to 325.
Next, heat coconut oil in a large dutch oven or oven safe pot with lid. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
Add garlic and chicken to the oil and let chicken cook on each side for about 3 minutes at medium/high heat. Remove and add 1/4 cup cider to the pan to deglaze. Using something soft like a spatula, stir to remove any stuck bits from the pan. After a minute or so, add chicken back in, then cover with veggies and sage, a sprinkle of salt, 1 Cup of cider, and cover. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and careful scoop out all the chicken and veggies. There should be some of the cider and fat left in the pot. If its thick, you can use is straight up as gravy. If it's still too thin, add a little grain free flour (I like tapioca for this) to thicken into a gravy to serve atop chicken and veggies.
Plate chicken with veggies, add a drizzle of cider gravy, and enjoy.
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