( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Andrew Montgomery
A recipe from The Great Dixter Cookbook by Aaron Bertelsen. The marriage of tarragon and chicken is one made in heaven, and more than enough reason to grow the herb. At Great Dixter I grow it in pots that sit in the courtyard outside the kitchen. This Christopher Lloyd recipe is unbeatable, but do take the time to brown the chicken properly at the start, ideally in a cast-iron pan. The iron gets very hot and then holds the heat so that the chicken takes on more colour while cooking.
|1 piece||Butter, large|
|1 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|1.3 kgs||Free-range chicken, or chicken pieces if preferred|
|1||Shallot, or sall onions, use up to 2|
|120 ml||Dry white wine|
|4 sprigs||Tarragon, (be generous)|
For the gravy
- Melt the butter with the oil in a cast-iron casserole dish, then brown the bird (or chicken pieces if using) on all sides. Towards the end of browning, add the onions, wine and the tarragon, stuffing a couple of sprigs inside the cavity of the bird and placing a couple alongside in the dish.
- Cover and roast for 40–45 minutes (or 30 minutes if using chicken pieces), or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 75C. Transfer the bird or chicken pieces to a dish, discarding the tarragon from the cavity, and set aside to rest.
- Meanwhile, make the gravy. Put the pan of chicken juices on the hob, remove the tarragon sprigs, add the butter, then stir in the herbs, mixing well. Remove from the heat. If using, slowly stir in the cream until combined ... and that’s it.
Parsley, coriander and dill will quickly run to seed, so keep them well watered and pick the leaves regularly. Mint is invasive so either keep it in a pot or, if you must plant it out, try sinking it into the ground in a plastic pot with the bottom taken out. Perennials, such as rosemary and thyme, can become woody unless they are cut back regularly. Tender perennials, such as tarragon, should be protected over winter — I keep mine in a greenhouse.
More of Aaron Bertelsen's recipes