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Posts Tagged ‘Tarragon’

Chicken & Morel Pie

We were so happy when we found a little jar of dried morels, until we got to the counter and realised they cost €25. We almost put them back only we had our hearts set on cooking this pie for dinner. We think they were worth it, but we’ll be better prepared for a shock at the till next time. It turns out morels are far from easy to come by and must be hand foraged and hence the princely sum. The fresh ones can be used for this dish too (though good luck finding them!) but you miss out on the nice mushroom stock from soaking the dried ones. If you see either sort and you’re feeling flush, we recommend trying them.

Wine Suggestion: We think this goes well with earthier reds like Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo especially if they have a little age and development.

Chicken, morel mushroom & asparagus one-pan pie – serves 4 to 5

  • 30g dried morels (or 100g fresh morels thoroughly cleaned)
  • 200ml chicken stock (you only need this if you have fresh morels)
  • 50g butter
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100ml dry sherry or white wine
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks
  • bunch of asparagus, snap off and discard the woody ends, then cut into 4cm pieces
  • half a pack of tarragon, leaves roughly chopped
  • 375g block of puff pastry (preferably all-butter)
  • 1 egg, beaten, to glaze

If you are using dried mushrooms put them into a bowl and cover with boiling water, then leave to soak for 10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid and cut in half (keep the liquid and make it up to 200ml with some more water if necessary). You can set a couple of the nicest looking morels aside to decorate the top of the pie if you like.

Heat half the butter in a frying pan and fry the morels for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Heat the rest of the butter and cook the shallots gently in the pan with the thyme and bay. When the shallots have softened, stir in the flour and cook for a minute or until a paste forms.

Pour in the sherry or wine and sizzle, then stir in the mushroom liquid (leave any grit in the bowl) or chicken stock, followed by the crème fraîche. Season well and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the chicken and poach in the sauce for 10 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove and discard the bay leaves, stir in the asparagus, tarragon and fried morels, then remove from the heat and transfer into a pie dish.

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 8.

Roll the pastry out onto a floured surface to the thickness of a euro coin, then cut to fit the dish, and drape it over the pie mixture (a rolling pin helps with this). Liberally brush with egg, season the pastry with flaky sea salt, and arrange the reserved morels on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Cherry tomato salad with wholegrain mustardSuch a nice tomato salad with lots of delicious dressing for which you will require some crusty bread. You do need to skin the tomatoes but it actually takes no time at all if you follow the instructions below and it allows them to soak up the dressing so don’t be tempted to leave that step out.

Cherry tomato salad with wholegrain mustard – serves 4 to 6

  • 900g cherry tomatoes
  • 50g walnuts, coarsely chopped

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • small bunch of tarragon
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaped tbsp wholegrain Dijon mustard
  • 125ml walnut oil or olive oil

Peel the tomatoes by cutting a slit in the base of each then putting them into a large bowl. Pour over some boiling water from the kettle and immediately drain – the skins should peel of easily.

Keep a sprig of tarragon to garnish and remove the rest of the leaves from the stalks. Coarsely chop the leaves and discard the stalks. Whisk the vinegar and mustard together with some salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil so the dressing thickens slightly, then whisk in the chopped tarragon.

Pour the dressing over the tomatoes,  mix gently and taste for seasoning. You can leave at room temperature for a couple of hours at this point. Pile into a salad bowl and sprinkle with the walnuts and the reserved tarragon just before serving.

(Original recipe by Anne Willan IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, April 2002)

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Chicken with creme fraiche & tarragon

Try this easy chicken dish for something tasty mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: we naturally lean towards a lightly oaked Chardonnay for this dish with sensitive, light oak as you need a wine with good body to match the flavours. For a mid-week meal the Mácon-Charnay by Domaine Manciat Poncet has the balance of flavours, fruit and texture, but if you want to step it up try some of Patrick Javillier’s Bourgogne Blanc cuvée’s (Oligocene is our pick) or for a real treat his Meursault which is outstanding and a real play of light and shadow; complex, fresh and vibrant.

Creamy mustard & tarragon chicken – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or you could use thighs)
  • 200ml tub half-fat crème fraîche (full-fat is fine too)
  • ½ tbsp each Dijon and wholegrain mustard
  • ¼ tbsp dried tarragon, or 2 sprigs of fresh if you have it

Heat your oven to 200C/fan 180/gas 6.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan. Season the chicken breasts well with salt and black pepper. Brown the chicken in the oil for about a minute on each side, then remove from the pan.

Add the crème fraîche, Dijon & wholegrain mustards, and tarragon to the pan and stir together. Bring to a simmer before returning the chicken to the pan and spooning some of the sauce over them. Put the pan into the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is bubbling.

Serve with rice or new potatoes and greens.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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Rabbit with tarragon & mustard

Jono’s birthday treat this year was a rabbit, which we ate. Orlaith (the 3 year old in the house) also ate it despite being very attached to her favourite fluffy ‘Bunny’.  If you’re nervous about rabbit don’t be, the flavour is really good and not too gamey. We highly recommend this mustard & tarragon sauce too.

Wine Suggestion: A classic French dish needed a classic French wine to go with it. Our choice was a favourite, the Patrick Javillier Bourgogne Blanc Cuvée Oligocene, in reality a good Meursault. Well worth seeking out.

Rabbit with Mustard & Tarragon – serves 3-4

  • 1.5kg rabbit joints
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 100ml double cream
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice
  • leaves from 8 springs of tarragon

Season the rabbit joints with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a deep frying pan and brown the rabbit pieces, then remove from the pan and set aside. Cook the onion in the same pan until soft and golden. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and return the rabbit pieces to the pan. Simmer very gently, covered, for 1.5-2 hours or until tender and still moist.

Take the rabbit back out of the pan, put into a warm dish and cover. Add the cream to the stock and reduce by about half. Add the mustard, lemon juice and half the tarragon. Reduce again until the sauce is the consistency of single cream but be careful the sauce doesn’t reduce too much and become sticky and salty.

Return the rabbit to the sauce to heat through and add the rest of the tarragon just before serving.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Braised chicken with mustard & leeks

Another suggestion for using up a leek. Chicken, mustard and leeks are natural friends and make for a delicious mid-week dinner.

Wine suggestion: choose a classic pairing with this and go for a Chardonnay. Your choice of which one but both simple and unoaked or sophisticated and expensive white burgundy will work.

Braised chicken with mustard & leeks – serves 2

  • olive oil
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 100ml white wine/chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon

Heat a splash of oil in a wide, deep frying pan and cook the chicken thigh fillets until golden on both sides.

Add the leek to the pan and cook until softened.

Add the wine or stock, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the Dijon mustard and double cream and continue to simmer with the lid off until slightly thickened.

Stir through the chopped tarragon, season to taste and serve with either some steamed rice or mashed potatoes.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, January 2015.)

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Herb roast chicken

This is an easy solution for feeding a crowd and almost everyone likes roast chicken. All you need is some new potatoes or creamy mash on the side. We love the fresh tarragon with the peas but you could use mint if you prefer. The combination of the peas, shallots, herbs and pancetta really add extra depth to the chicken and lift even ordinary chickens to feast-like levels. Of course, if the budget allows, get a good, free-range one as the extra flavour is really worth it.

Wine Suggestion: As this dish is a bit richer than your standard roast chicken it demands more than most white wines can deliver. We find Pinot Noir a good choice. This time we chose the Justin Girardin Santenay 1er Clos Rousseau and the earthy flavours danced with the salty, crispy pancetta and sweet peas. The tarragon made it all the more reminiscent of holidays in France.

Herb-Roast Chicken – serves 8-10 (easily halved)

  • 200g cubetti di pancetta
  • 800g shallots, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chickens (about 1.5kg each)
  • 500ml hot chicken stock
  • 800g peas (frozen will be fine)
  • small pack tarragon, roughly chopped

Heat oven to 190C/170C/gas 5.

Fry the pancetta gently in a heavy frying pan until crisp – if you start with a cold pan you shouldn’t need to add any oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the shallots to the pan and fry in the pancetta fat for 10-15 minutes or until golden and starting to soften. Tip the shallots into a very large roasting tin.

Rub the olive oil over the chickens and season well with salt and pepper, then place the chickens into the roasting tin with the shallots. Roast for about 1 hour 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove the chickens from the tin and cover with foil.

Put the roasting tin directly onto the hob and stir in the stock. Bubble for a few minutes and scrape any sticky bits off the bottom of the tin with a wooden spoon. Add the peas, pancetta and most of the tarragon to the stock and bubble for a few minutes or until the peas are cooked, then season.

Meanwhile carve the chicken into large pieces. Transfer the peas to a warm serving platter and serve the chicken on top with the rest of the tarragon sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, April 2010.)

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