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Wood Fired Chicken with Cider & Bacon

This is a really delicious dish from the wood fired oven – roast chicken thighs with crispy skin, served with buttery roast apple wedges, bacon, onions, cider and thyme. We love using chicken thighs for dishes like this as they are full of flavour and stay lovely and juicy; also the crispy skin is delicious!

Have a look at the video to see how David cooked it and the recipe is below.


8 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in

2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced

60g bacon lardons, smoked or unsmoked as you wish

3 sprigs fresh thyme

250ml medium cider

1heaped tsp grain mustard

2 red eating apples, cored and quartered (we use eating apples as they hold together better than baking apples and their skins look lovely; baking apples will turn to mush)

Olive oil

60g butter

Salt and pepper

Wood Fired Chicken with Cider & Bacon

Get your ingredients together

Oven state, equipment etc

1-2 Mississippi

Cast iron or heavy duty metal pans – 1 large and 1 small


Small pieces of wood to manage the fire


  • Put the pans in the oven to heat up.
  • When the large pan is hot, add 2tbsp of oilive oil to it, season the chicken thighs and add them to the pan, skin side down. Put the pan back in the oven and cook the thighs until they have become golden brown on the skin but not completely cooked through.
  • Put another tbsp of olive oil in the other pan with the butter and put it in the oven until the butter starts to foam.
  • When the butter is foaming, add the oil/butter mix to the apple quarters in a bowl and toss them all around before putting the coated apples back in the pan. Put the pan in the oven and cook until the apple quarters are tender and nicely browned, basting with the butter/oil mixture from time to time. Wood Fired Chicken with Cider & Bacon
  • When the chicken thighs are browned on their skin side, take them out of the pan and keep on a plate.
  • Put the onions and bacon lardons in the pan with another tbsp of olive oil and cook in the oven until the onions have softened. Wood Fired Chicken with Cider & Bacon
  • Stir in the mustard, cider and thyme sprigs and season well. Arrange the chicken  thighs on top, skin side up and put the pan back in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and at 75C at least – use a probe thermometer to test this.
  • Take the thighs out of the pan and keep them warm on a clean plate – we just keep them in the oven door, not close to the fire.
  • Put the pan back towards the fire and reduce the sauce – add some small pieces of wood to the fire and give them a burst of oxygen with a blow pipe if they are reluctant to catch fire. This added heat will increase the temperature and help to reduce the sauce.
  • When the sauce is reduced, pour the onion/bacon mixture into the base of a serving dish. Keep a little back to garnish and discard the thyme sprigs which have now done their job. Put the chicken thighs on top of the onion/bacon mixture and arrange the roast apple quarters on top of those. Spoon over the rest of the onion mixture, pour over any remaining sauce and chicken juices and garnish with some fresh thyme.
  • Serve at once with creamy mashed potatoes or baked potatoes or rice.
  • Wood Fired Chicken with Cider & Bacon


  • If you don’t like or don’t drink cider, use a dry apple juice or just some chicken stock
  • Use underripe pears instead of the apples and cook until they are tender
  • tarragon is a good alternative to thyme; it goes really well with chicken
  • you can use pork chops instead of chicken thighs; a perfect partner to apples, cider and thyme
  • if you’d like a creamy sauce, stir in a spoon or 2 of creme fraiche to the reduced cidery sauce
  • if you haven’t got grain mustard, don’t worry – Dijon mustard will be fine

Wine Suggestion

  • Suzie at Michael Sutton’s Cellar has nailed it again with this suggestion of a wine to accompany your chicken –
    “it has to be a decent white Burgundy (Chardonnay) perhaps Maçon Solutré 2017, round & creamy to compliment the sauce.” Mmm – cheers!

Well we hope you like our chicken with cider and apples – do let us know how you get on and if you’ve got any questions, just email them over.

Happy Cooking

David and Hollyx