For starters, I don't know if I did something wrong, but the apple flavor was barely there. I mean, it wasn't BAD or anything - but not nearly worth the prep and cook time. Plus, I don't know why I used a whole cut-up chicken when I don't really like that. I should have just used thighs or breasts or something - cuts without bones and skin.
And the potatoes? Absolutely nothing to write home about. I was so excited about these, but they really were terrible. I left them in the oven for an extra 20 minutes, and they were still barely cooked. And there was no blend of flavor at all.
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 cloves garlic, 3 cloves cracked and peeled, 1 clove grated or finely chopped, divided
- A few grates of fresh nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds, divided
- 1/2 pound deli ham, such as Black Forest or rosemary, thinly sliced, then chopped, divided
- 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, divided
- 1 1/2 cups apple juice or cider
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
- 1 large chicken (about 5 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.
In a bowl, combine the chicken stock, heavy cream, grated garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Arrange half of the potatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish and spread them out in an even layer. Pour half of the cream mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle half of the ham and half of the cheese. Top that layer with the remaining potatoes (you can arrange the top layer decoratively if you are in the mood). Pour the remaining cream mixture over them and sprinkle with the remaining ham, followed by the remaining cheese.
Cover the dish with foil, place the baking dish on a baking sheet (it's likely to boil over a bit while in the oven and this will save you from a big oven cleaning) and transfer it to the oven. Bake the dish until the potatoes feel tender when a paring knife is inserted into the center of the dish, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and let it keep baking to brown the cheese on top, about 15 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and let the potatoes rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
While the potatoes are cooking, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the apple juice, brown sugar, thyme, cracked garlic cloves and lemon slices up to a bubble. Continue to simmer until it has reduced to about 3/4 cup.
While the apple juice is cooking, season the chicken pieces with some salt and pepper and drizzle them with a little EVOO. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish and pour the reduced apple juice over all the chicken. Transfer to the oven and roast for 35-40 minutes, until brown and an internal thermometer reads 165ºF. Serve the chicken with a scoop of the potatoes alongside.