tarragon cream chicken

One of the easiest - and fastest - recipes I know, which manages to be homely, comforting and impressive, so can be used as a Friday night TV supper dish or the main course of a smart dinner - a really useful adjunct to any repertoire.

For two people:

2 boned and skinless chicken breasts, poached in stock or water until just cooked, then cut into generous chunks

1 medium onion, small clove of garlic

2fl oz (ish) of white wine, or dry sherry or strong chicken stock for a non-alcoholic version

5oz double cream

bunch of fresh French tarragon leaves, snipped

Salt and (freshly-ground black) pepper

Olive oil for frying

Serve with green salad and crusty bread, or with either rice or noodles.

Heat the oil in a large frying-pan, finely chop the onion, mince the garlic and add both to the pan and cook gently until soft and translucent but don't allow to colour. Turn the heat up and add the alcohol if using, or the stock, bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the cream, bring back to the boil and cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened to the consistency of thin custard. Turn the heat down and add the chicken pieces and let them warm through in the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste and three-quarters of the tarragon leaves. Stir well and serve with the remaining tarragon sprinkled over the finished dish.

These quantities can be easily increased depending on the tummies being fed.

A fish variant - and just as simple - involves substituting the chicken for a 50/50 mixture of scallops and tiger prawns, swapping the tarragon for freshly-chopped dill and adding a small squirt of vegetable puree to the sauce to turn it a delicate pink. Add the scallops and prawns to the sauce raw - no need to pre cook them. This dish looks especially dramatic if served with glossy, black squid-ink linguine.

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posted by valerie on 19 Feb 06 - 9031 views

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