Thursday, 26 March 2015

Chicken in cream and tarragon


When we used to visit my family in France, this was a great signature dish that my Auntie Sophie used to do. And the great thing is, it is really easy to double up ingredients if you have more mouths to feed.

Ingredients (to feed 4)

4 chicken legs
1 pint of chicken stock
A decent hand full of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
10 baby button mushrooms
50-80g of peas (up to you really)
1 teaspoon of mustard
4 tablespoons of creme fraiche
2 table spoons of finely chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon of corn flour
25g of unsalted butter
Half a glass of white wine
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

The Cooking:

Start by melting the butter over a medium heat in a large, deep frying pan. Once it is foaming, lay your chicken legs in and fry in butter on all sides until the skin is brown and starting to crisp. Approximately 6-7 minutes on each side. Increase the heat and before the butter gets a chance to burn, add your white wine and let the liquid reduce down to about half its original content. Then transfer everything to an oven proof dish. Add in the flour, thyme and bay leaf, pour over the liquid from your frying pan and your chicken stock (just enough to cover the chicken), then cover with a lid and place into an oven, preheated to 180 degrees C. Cook for approximately 2 hours, so that the chicken is virtually falling off the bone. Check it every 20 minutes or so, to make sure that the stock is not drying out (if it is add more wine or stock). Give it all a good stir every time. 30 minutes before the end of your cooking time, take your casserole dish out of the oven. Lift out the chicken legs and place them on a baking tray or roasting tin and return them into the oven.

Gently fry your button mushrooms in butter. Be generous with plenty of ground pepper. While they are browning, add the creme fraiche and the tarragon to the liquid in the casserole dish and with a  wooden spoon, give it all a good stir until all the liquids are combined into one smooth sauce. If you are using a heavy dish like mine (rather than a glass one) best results are achieved if you do this bit over a hob on  a low heat, as it thickens the sauce nicely. Add the mushrooms and the peas into the sauce. Retrieve the chicken legs and put them back in the dish with everything else, season with salt and pepper, pop the lid back on and return to the oven for the final 30 minutes of cooking. Giving you the perfect amount of time to do any accompaniment you may fancy.

Serve up on a bed of rice and may be some vegetables Julienne.

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