Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chicken with Tarragon and White Wine

Of all the things in the refrigerator that can go bad, fresh herbs are the worst. I can't tell you how many times I've purchased a bunch of cilantro / parsley / basil / et cetera for one recipe, put the remainder in the veggie drawer, and forgotten about it until it was useless green mush. Herbs are expensive, especially in the winter when you can't grow them outside, so to waste them is painful to me.

Case in point: I made the Green Goddess Salad, which used a few tablespoons of chopped tarragon, a few nights ago. I still had more than half a container of tarragon to use, and desperately needed a recipe for it. A quick search of found a Giada De
Laurentis recipe for Chicken with Tarragon and White Wine.

Buy a whole chicken, cut it up for this recipe, and use the carcass for another. I didn't have cippolini onions, so I diced half a red onion instead. For the wine, I had half a bottle of Reisling in the fridge, and I liked the brightness and gentle acidity it lent to the sauce. We mopped up the leftovers with crusty bread and ate it with a salad.

Chicken with Tarragon and White Wine
(recipe by Giada De Laurentis, courtesy of

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (4 -5 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • flour for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cups cipollini or pearl onions, trimmed and peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 cup white wine, such as Riesling
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste, and dust with flour. Cook the chicken, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  2. Heat the same pan used for the chicken over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  3. Return the chicken pieces to the pan. Add 3 cups of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of tarragon and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook, turning the chicken pieces over every 10 minutes, until cooked through, about 30 minutes total for the breasts and wings and 40 minutes total for the legs and thighs. Transfer the chicken to a platter and loosely tent with foil while finishing the sauce.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/3 cup chicken broth and flour. Whisk the flour mixture into the sauce until smooth. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve the sauce over the chicken and garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of tarragon.

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