Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider, Bacon, and Parsnips {giveaway}

Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider, Bacon, and Parsnips -

Over the past few years, a good number of people have asked me if I’ve ever braised chicken breasts. I’ve always responded with a “no“, followed by an explanation of why I don’t think it’s necessary to braise chicken breasts (they are lean cuts, without the fat and connective tissues that break down and tenderize tougher cuts of meat during braising)…but I was still curious to try it.

Then I came across a recipe in Molly Stevens’ book All About Braising, with an ingredient that gave me the perfect excuse to try braising chicken breasts for the first time: hard cider. Two glorious words in my glossary of libations. After falling in love with a big pot of Hard Cider Pot Roast, I needed no convincing to try braising other cuts of meat in it!

I’m so happy this gorgeous pot of Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider, Bacon, and Parsnips came to grace our family table!

Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider, Bacon, and Parsnips -

In our home, braising always involves LeCreuset. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I love LeCreuset. Their products are of the highest quality, and always have a way of delivering some of my family’s favorite meals to our table. In the past, I’ve used our 6-3/4 quart oval French oven, and have shared with you:

And now, for this latest recipe for braised chicken breasts, I used our 3-1/2 quart braiser. What a lovely piece! So pretty in indigo blue, it was really the perfect vessel for this chicken dish. Low and wide, with a large bottom surface, it allowed four large breasts of chicken to simmer in the reduced cider sauce.

Be sure to read to the end of this post…
Enter to WIN a 3-1/2 quart LeCreuset braiser, in your very own color choice!

Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider, Bacon, and Parsnips -

I’m glad that I can now tell people that “yes“, I have braised chicken breasts before…and I have the perfect recipe for you!

This dish turned out wonderfully flavorful, especially for using so few ingredients. The secret is in the sauce, all sweet and lovingly reduced, with the flavors of cider, parsnips, and fresh rosemary. And bacon, of course! It’s a great pairing for the delicately flavored white chicken pieces.

Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider, Bacon, and Parsnips -

Another notable aspect of this recipe is that it uses just one pot, the braiser alone. Which is definitely a plus for the person who does the dishes in your house. Ahem. Thanks, Blake.

My advice?

Slide a pot of this braised chicken into the oven this weekend. When it’s just about ready to wow the center of your table and your guests, pop open a cold hard cider (my favorite is Crisp Apple by Angry Orchard). Take a few sips, then get ready to savor the rest with a serving of this delicious chicken. Enjoy!

Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider, Bacon, and Parsnips

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 3 lbs. total)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2'' wide strips
  • 3 T. minced shallot
  • 2-1/2 c. hard cider (I used Angry Orchard Apple Ginger)
  • 1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 lb. parsnips, peeled, any woody core removed, and cut into sticks about 3'' by 1/2''


Preheat oven to 325°.

Rinse chicken breasts under cool running water and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. (Be sure to dry the chicken thoroughly, or it won’t brown properly and will threaten to stick to the pan during searing.) Season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a 3-1/2 quart LeCreuset braiser or large deep lidded skillet, over medium heat, combine oil and bacon pieces. Stir a few times, until the bacon renders most of its fat and is just crisp, about 6 minutes. With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and rendered bacon fat from the pan. Return braiser to the same burner, and heat the remaining fat over medium-high heat. Place prepared chicken breasts skin side down in the pan and brown, without disturbing, for a few minutes. Then peek underneath by lifting the edge of the chicken with a pair of tongs to see if the skin is crisp and bronzed. Once the skin is nicely browned, about 4 to 5 minutes, turn with tongs and brown the other side as well, another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a large plate to catch the juices, and set aside.

Return braiser to same burner, still over medium-high heat, and add shallot to the pan. Let it sizzle, stirring, for a minute. It will brown quickly, so be careful to not let it burn. Quickly pour in 2 cups of the hard cider to deglaze, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge and dissolve the browned bits that will flavor the sauce. Let the cider boil to reduce down to about 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes or so. Add the rosemary and the remaining 1/2 cup cider and boil down again until there’s about 3/4 cup total, another 6 to 8 minutes. The cider won’t become very thick, but you will be concentrating the combined flavors of fruit, bacon drippings, chicken drippings, and rosemary in the process. I promise you, it's yummy!

Add the parsnips and season with generous grindings of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle the bacon over the parsnips, and arrange the chicken pieces on top, skin side down. Cover with parchment paper, pressing down so that the paper nearly rests on the chicken pieces and hangs over the sides of the pan by about an inch, and set the lid in place. Slide the pan onto a rack in the lower third of the oven to braise at a gentle simmer. After 25 minutes, turn the chicken pieces, and check the liquid. If it is simmering too ferociously, lower the oven temperature 10 to 15 degrees. Continue braising until the meat at the thickest part of the breast is cooked through when you make a small incision with a knife, another 20 to 25 minutes.

I prefer to serve this meal directly from the braiser, placing it right in the middle of our table. This provides not only a beautiful centerpiece, but it also keeps the chicken and parsnips hot. I also like to add a large spoon to the braiser, so everyone can spoon a bit of the delicious sauce over their chicken. This meal is great served with a big bowl of rice.


Adapted from All About Braising by Molly Stevens, a book I highly recommend.


600_A Giveaway!

3-1/2 qt LeCreuset braiser

Enter to win this hardworking and seriously gorgeous
3-1/2 quart braiser from LeCreuset!

Just use the widget box below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway rules: This giveaway is open to US residents 18 years and older. One winner will be chosen at random and then notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize, or another winner will be selected. A farmgirl’s dabbles and LeCreuset are not responsible for lost or undelivered emails.
Disclosure: A big thank you to LeCreuset for the braiser, and for providing the braiser for this giveaway. I only work with brands I love, and all opinions are always my own.



42 Responses to “Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider, Bacon, and Parsnips {giveaway}”

  1. #
    Jamie — November 8, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Looks delicious!

  2. #
    Maria — November 8, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Great recipe and fun giveaway!

  3. #
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife — November 8, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Le Creuset is simply amazing. I can almost smell this cooking on my stove!

  4. #
    Tieghan — November 8, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Le Creuset is my all time favorite! I simply love cooking with their products! This dish is the perfect thing to cook in a brasier! It looks and sounds so good, Brenda!

  5. #
    Athena R — November 8, 2013 at 9:15 am


  6. #
    raizy — November 8, 2013 at 9:20 am

    What a great giveaway! Hope to win!

  7. #
    Sheena @ Hot Eats and Cool Reads — November 8, 2013 at 9:33 am

    This recipe looks fantastic and what a great giveaway! Pinning!

  8. #
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — November 8, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Delicious dish, Brenda! Love the use of hard cider! Great giveaway, too! :)

  9. #
    Edi A — November 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Braised chicken looks great. Would love the giveaway!

  10. #
    Mom — November 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

    This looks so delicious Brenda. Grandma R cooks with parsnips, but I have just never tried them. This recipe could change my mind about that.

    • Brenda replied on November 14th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      I haven’t had them much myself, but always ask myself why. Kind of like a carrot.

  11. #
    Lily Lee — November 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I don’t know how to cook, I only have one wok and a 2 quart sauce pan in my kitchen. I would love to have an extra pot!

  12. #
    Lily Lee — November 8, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Just want to let you know that your giveaway widget isn’t loading on internet explorer 9 on Window 8.1.

  13. #
    Stacy — November 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Cherry! Love, love, love LeCreuset!!! Thank you!

  14. #
    Paula — November 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    What a great recipe! Can’t wait to try it in my new pan!

  15. #
    Donna — November 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    That recipe sounds so good and looks great too! Making me drool actually!

    About that giveaway…I would love to win a piece of LeCreuset as I have never owned one, but have looked at them longingly in the kitchen stores and said, “Someday”! You could make my dream come true! It is my birthday (Nov 25) soon. So early birthday present would be AWESOME!!!

    • Brenda replied on November 14th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Happy (early) birthday, Donna!! :)

  16. #
    Tammy — November 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Were you able to find “hard cider” in your grocery store?

    • Brenda replied on November 14th, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Tammy – I’ve never looked for it at the grocery store. I get it at one of our local wine or liquor stores. There are MANY choices for hard cider, you shouldn’t have trouble finding some. (But I really love the Angry Orchard brand!)

  17. #
    Wendy — November 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I have one lonely pot from LeCreuset and I use it all the time. This is the best pot I have ever cooked with and couldn’t we all use more! I LOVE braised chicken and can’t wait to try this!

  18. #
    Monica — November 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I love that braising cookbook! What a fabulous giveaway but I am not sure if I entered correctly using the giveaway entry system.

  19. #
    Rust — November 8, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    i think i would choose marseilles, or soleil. So pretty!

  20. #
    Shelby — November 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    If I had to choose today: cherry. Tomorrow it may be : fennel. Great giveaway! Thanks.

  21. #
    lisa — November 10, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Looks and sounds delicious!

  22. #
    karen medlin — November 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I would choose the Ocean Color

  23. #
    shell — November 11, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I just bought my first Le Crueset in caribbean!!! Now I’m just itching for another in ocean :)

    • Brenda replied on November 14th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      ALL the colors are so very lovely!!! :)

  24. #
    ATasteOfMadness — November 12, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Oh wow. This looks SO good! I am always looking for more chicken recipes, yum!

    • Brenda replied on November 14th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Thank you!!

  25. #
    mysweetiepiepie — November 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I’d choose the red braiser shown, I love it :+)

  26. #
    Jennifer — November 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    This recipe looks delicious! The Le Crueset Ocean color is my favorite.

  27. #
    Carole Resnick — November 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I would select red as all my other LeCrueset is flame

  28. #
    Terri C — November 19, 2013 at 9:26 am

    This is so neat would love to have one of these. Thanks for the chance!

  29. #
    Margaret C. — November 19, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Makes you want yo get cooking right now. Gotta go shopping…

  30. #
    Robin Chsser — November 19, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I’d pick the red Le Creuset, I adore anything in red!

  31. #
    christine powers — November 19, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving

  32. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — November 20, 2013 at 8:11 am

    This looks like some mighty fine comfort food!

  33. #
    Julie collins — April 29, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Can you substitute regular apple cider?

  34. #
    Michael Kemp — May 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I’ve made this recipe four times now. I use it when I really want to impress someone with something delicious and unique. The parsnips are amazing, and I tried it with parsley root, which was tasty too. When paired with a nice celery, apple, and parsley salad, this use one of my favorites.

    • Brenda replied on May 12th, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Wow!! So glad you like this! :)

  35. #
    linda rodman — July 11, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    terrific recipe-yummy!


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