An old friend comes to visit and Tarragon Chicken

14 Jan

Tarragon ChickenI am lucky enough to be living, even just for a short time, in the same city as a girlfriend who I was besties with in grades 1 and 2. Her family moved back to Vancouver when we were 8 years old and somehow, amazingly, we have managed to keep in touch over the last 24 years. We have been making the most of living in such close proximity and it was our turn to have them for dinner at our place last night.

I wanted a recipe that I could prepare early so I wouldn’t be in the kitchen, straining to hear the conversation, while our friends were over. Tarragon chicken is just the thing – I think it is one of those fabulous dishes that are best cooked early and eaten hours later when the flavours have had more time to develop.

It is such a salty, leeky, mushroomy plate of deliciousness it would be a crime to not have it in one’s repertoire. Leeks are in season here right now and I love cooking with them – they’re so much kinder to my eyes than onions (I have been know to don the old swimming goggles for tear-free onion prep in the past), and they have such a mild, sweet flavour to them.

At Christmas I braised leeks, following a recipe I found on the Wednesday Chef, and I often roast them à la Jamie . And they are a standout in this dish too. It is a little labour intensive early in the piece – browning the chicken, cooking down the leeks, mushrooms and pancetta, and then simmering the chicken in stock and wine before returning everything to the pan. But once the time has been invested, it can just hang tight in the fridge before re-heating when it’s time for dinner. For this reason, and because of the mild flavours, it’s often a dish I make for friends who have just had babies – great re-heated, travels well, and low on chilli and garlic so it won’t upset the new babe.

I have adapted this recipe from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics, Book 1

Ingredients

4 small chicken breasts, cut into 2 or 3 pieces

2 tablespoons plain flour, for coating chicken

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

200g prosciutto slices, diced

2 leeks, carefully washed, halved and chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

200g white mushrooms, quartered

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup dry white wine

½ cup cream (low fat is fine)

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped tarragon

Freshly ground S&P

Method

Place chicken and flour in a bag and shake to coat chicken.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large fry pan on medium heat. When it is hot, add chicken pieces in batches, and fry until browned. (Try not to move them around too early – when they’re browned they won’t stick to the pan so there will be no burnt bits of flour to remove before the next step).

Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the other tablespoon oil and cook the prosciutto, leeks, garlic and mushrooms until leeks and mushrooms are soft and beginning to brown.

Remove the leek mixture from the pan and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with the stock and white wine. Return the chicken to the pan in a single layer and simmer, uncovered for 25 mins. The amount of liquid should reduce by half in this time, but keep an eye on it and cover the pan if it is reducing too fast.

Add leek mixture, cream, parsley, tarragon and S&P to taste. Cook for 5 mins uncovered until warmed through and the sauce has thickened.

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6 Responses to “An old friend comes to visit and Tarragon Chicken”

  1. heatherspalton January 15, 2013 at 2:28 am #

    Sounds yum Marcie! Leeks are particularly extra yum when they have had a good frost on them, so they must be truly tasty in Canada. Love the blog, keep it coming xxx

    • marcieblogs January 15, 2013 at 4:30 am #

      Is that true? Well there is plenty of frost around these parts! Hope your summer vege patch is bountiful and the girls are having a great time down there. xx

  2. Lisa January 15, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Wow, this recipe sounds delicious! I’m going to give it a go when the weather cools down a bit.

    Love the blog! Thanks for sharing all if these great recipes.

    • marcieblogs January 16, 2013 at 4:56 am #

      Thanks for coming to have a look Lisa! Yes, best saved for when the heat goes out of the evening – I hear it has been quite a hot one in Brissie this summer.

  3. Stephanie January 21, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Love the blog, Marcie! Have added Tarragon Chicken to my menu for this fortnight. Looks delish!
    Stephie xxx

    • marcieblogs January 22, 2013 at 2:52 am #

      Hi Stephie! Thanks for coming to look! Hope you enjoy it! Ned got stuck into it too, so maybe something that Avery would enjoy as well? xx

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