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Chicken with tarragon in a Riesling sauce


Sort of a coq au vin blanc. Be careful not to overcook the chicken, I have found it can turn from succulent to dry in a matter of minutes. It's very good served with either pommes puree or crispy-skinned baked potatoes, but just some crusty bread to soak up the juices is enough.


Serves 4 as a main course


4 pieces of chicken (if you prefer breast meat, add in a piece of chicken with bones to add flavour to the sauce)

50g pancetta, diced

50g butter

6 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of tarragon

1 large onion

1 bulb of fennel

1 stick celery

8 or so mushrooms

1 tbsp plain flour

250ml Riesling wine

100ml chicken stock

a couple of dried shittake mushrooms

a splash of cream

a little chopped parsley to serve


Melt the butter in a pan over a high heat and cook the pancetta until just starting to crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, brown the chicken pieces and remove those from the pan.


Dice the onion, celery and fennel, turn down the heat under the pan to medium and add the vegetables. Peel the garlic and crush each clove with the flat of a knife blade. Roughly chop the tarragon, quarter the mushrooms and add both to the pan, along with the crushed garlic. Fry lightly, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is softened and slightly coloured - about ten or fifteen minutes. Add a tablespoon of flour and stir until the vegetables are coated and the flour has lightly browned, then add the Riesling. Stick in any bony bits of chicken now, but keep back the breast meat for later. Bring to the boil and simmer for about twenty minutes until reduced by about a third.


Meanwhile, heat the stock and add the dried mushrooms to it, for a little extra savour.


Return the breast meat and pancetta to the vegetables pan and ladle in enough of the stock (holding back the dried mushrooms) to create the right consistency. It will be quite a thin sauce, but with lots of interesting vegetable bits floating about in it.


Simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Pour in a glug of cream right at the end and serve immediately with a little chopped parsley scattered over the top.

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