Going, going, tarragon chicken

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Go to the recipe for tarragon chicken

Here’s an episode we prepared earlier. We’ve been doing a few shows for Word of Mouth (WOM), the blog of Observer Food Monthly magazine here in the UK. A lot of you probably didn’t know about these CTK specials, as they were posted only at WOM and didn’t go out in our feed.

It seemed a shame that some of you might miss out, especially the great number who subscribe to CTK via iTunes, so we’ve decided to repost them here for your enjoyment. Even if you’ve seen the episode before, you can now download it to your iPods, Apple TVs and what-not.

This recipe – poached chicken with leeks – gave Lenny the chance to learn how to joint a chicken, i.e. cut up a whole fowl into nice meaty sections. This really isn’t too hard, and thanks to our friend Chef Michelle for clearly outlining the procedure.

It’s also much cheaper than buying all the bits separately – although you could use a bulk pack of one cut, like thighs, which are the most underrated part of a chook.

Tarragon is a herb I don’t know much about, but in amongst all the creaminess and butteriness of this dish it is a lovely fragrant foil. I reckon, anyway.

The method couldn’t be more simple. Brown chicken in butter, add stock, simmer, add everything else, simmer, serve.

– Waz

Lenny: This is based on a recipe from Rose Prince, using a herb I don’t use very often: tarragon. I don’t really care for aniseed-flavoured things, but although tarragon has an aniseed flavour, it is very understated and goes very well in creamy dishes. This dish is very, very simple and has a lovely, subtle flavour. You could use chicken pieces, but it’s much more economical to buy a whole chicken and joint it yourself. If you have a nice, sharp knife, this is easier than you think. Once you’ve done it two or three times, you’ll never look back to expensive, pre-jointed chicken pieces again. Watch the video to see how it’s done.

Tarragon chicken recipe

1 chicken
55 grams (2 oz) butter
3 leeks
900ml (1.5 pints) chicken stock
4 sprigs tarragon (leaves only)
250ml (half pint) cream
salt and pepper

Joint the chicken into 8 pieces and season with salt and pepper. Keep the leftover bits of chicken to make stock with.

Melt the butter in a large pan. Meanwhile, slice the leeks, discarding the tough parts at the top.

When the butter has melted, brown the chicken pieces in it until they’re golden on both sides. Add 900ml of chicken stock, bring to the boil and skim off the scum (which can make the dish taste bitter and look cloudy). Lower the heat and simmer for 35 minutes, then add the tarragon, leeks and cream. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.

This is supposed to be quite a “saucy” dish, but if you like the sauce a bit thicker, leave the lid off for the last 10-20 minutes of cooking so it reduces more.

In the video, we served this with sauteed potatoes, but it would actually be better with mash, or even steamed rice, to soak up those lovely juices. Crusty bread would be lovely, too. A simple green vege like broccoli (our household favourite) goes really well on the side, too.

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6 Responses to “Going, going, tarragon chicken”

  • Hello Waz and Len!

    I actually saw this video on WOM and I had tried it. What I liked about it is that there are only a few ingredients making it an easy weeknight recipe. And I love keeping the carcass for homemade stock. I had made it with rice and had green beans on the side. The family enjoyed it.


  • OK so far I really like your podcast there was just one thing that concerned me, actually had me jumping up and down saying “NOOO” you were using a wooden cutting board for raw chicken! Then you used to same cutting board for your leeks just AHHH that has cross contamination written all over it!! Always Always use a separate cutting board for all of your raw meats preferably a plastic one that can be safely placed in the dishwasher. Salmonella is not something you want to play with!! Other than that your podcast is awesome keep up the good work!

  • Thanks Amanda for the info on cutting boards.

    Rest assured we’re always (always!) really careful not to cross contaminate raw meat with other food. I can’t remember the exact bit you’re talking about, but if we chopped leeks on the same cutting board as the chicken, it would have been because the little leekies were going straight into the pot right after the chook.

    I’m pretty sure there’s no risk of cross-contamination there, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to cook meat and veggies together for fear of giving ourselves salmonella!

    Thanks for your comment and I hope we can keep entertaining you.

    Cheers, Lenny.

    PS – what’s a dishwasher?

  • Hi Waz and Lenny
    My first viewing of crash Test kitchen, very good indeed, thanks. I myself will be having a go at Tarragon Chicken tonight, so thanks for the tips etc :) good watching you and a nice down to Earth approach :) Have you tried any Eastern European recipes like Borscht, Bigos, Muchkalica, Pelmini ?? That’s something I like to do.
    Best regards
    Cheers from S Wales, UK

  • Hey Rog, we made ‘lazy man’s cabbage rolls’ a while back – it’s a version of Ukrainian cabbage rolls (minus the rolling). Here’s the link: http://www.crashtestkitchen.com/?p=30

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