For me, tarragon really elevates a basic recipe with it’s unique flavour that’s a mix of sweet aniseed and a mild vanilla. A key herb in French cuisine (it’s an essential ingredient in Béarnaise sauce – oh yum, another of my absolute favourites), and also marries very well with eggs, cheese and poultry. You’ll need a large hob-safe casserole dish for this easy recipe for chicken with tarragon.
Easy one pot chicken with tarragonCourse: Main Meals
20g unsalted butter
200g lardons or bacon cut into 1cm pieces, smoked or unsmoked
8 free-range chicken thighs
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 leek, halved and thinly sliced, white and pale green part only
1 large carrot, cut into 1cm dice
1 celery stick, trimmed and diced
300ml white wine
500ml chicken stock
3-4 whole sprigs of tarragon and about 2-3 tbsp freshly chopped tarragon leaves
130g petits pois (frozen is fine)
100g crème fraîche
Greens and cooked rice or potatoes to serve
- Melt the butter in the casserole over a medium-high heat and fry the lardons/bacon until golden and crisp. Scoop them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and put on a plate while you get on with the rest. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper, then brown it in the lardon pan, skin-side down. You may need to do this in batches. When the skin is beautifully golden – this should take about 12 minutes – put the chicken on the plate with the lardons.
- Lower the heat to low-medium and sauté the onion with a good pinch of salt and the bay leaves, stirring from time to time, until the onion is softened and golden from the chicken fat. This will take 15 minutes at least. Add the leek, carrot and celery and continue to fry gently for 5 minutes. Splash in the wine and let it reduce to a third – just coating the vegetables really – before pouring in the stock.
- Add the tarragon sprigs, tied in a little bundle with kitchen string, then return the lardons and the chicken to the pan, placing the chicken skin-side up. You want the liquid to come halfway up the chicken but not to cover it – add some water if you need a bit more liquid. Partially cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and simmer until the sauce has thickened a bit (about another 10 minutes or so). Take the pan off the heat, remove the tarragon sprigs and add the peas – leave for 5-10 minutes to cook in the residual heat and cool it down enough so you can add the crème fraîche without it curdling. Stir in the chopped tarragon, check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with greens and rice or potatoes.
- Don’t rush the onions Let them soften slowly. It takes 15 minutes at least, and 45 minutes or more if you really want to caramelise them.