Braised Garlic-Tarragon Chicken

By Gail Gordon Oliver

Poulet à l'estragon is a classic French dish. My version is elegant enough for a dinner party and simple enough to make for a weeknight family dinner. The preparation results in a mildly flavoured, softened garlic- and tarragon-infused sauce. For a bit more punch, stir 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard into the sauce before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed

3 to 4 lbs bone-in chicken parts

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

6  cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half

3 shallots, minced

3/4 cup dry white wine

2 ½ cups chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon

1/4 cup whipping (35%) cream (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken parts all over with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add one-half of the chicken pieces, browning them well on both sides; transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and reduce by about half, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the broth and 2 tablespoons of the tarragon. Return the chicken to the pan, in a single layer if possible. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a clean platter and cover loosely with foil.

Increase the heat to high. Stir in the cream (if using). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to the desired sauce consistency, about 8 minutes. Stir in one tablespoon of the remaining tarragon. Briefly return the chicken to the pan to heat through. Garnish the chicken with the remaining tablespoon of tarragon and serve with the sauce, accompanied by Buttery Orecchiette with Mushrooms and Peas (recipe follows), if desired.

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