Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Creamy Lemon, Garlic and Tarragon Chicken

Mr. Eating the Scenery once posited  that if tuna could be called Chicken of the Sea, it only stood to reason that chicken could be called Tuna of the Land.  Of course, this is the same man who wondered, upon observing this sign outside Yakima, a nearby city, if there was a corresponding sign outside Palm Springs billing it as the Yakima of California.  You can see why I like to keep Mr. ETS well nourished.

My intentions for these two free-range tuna ... er, chickens, started along the thyme and rosemary line.  But sunshine, bobbing robins, miscellaneous birdsong, bright green tarragon springing up outside ... diverse factors converged to make it obvious that something quite different was called for on this bright (albeit chilly) Spring day.  Herewith, the result.
Long ago my mom taught me to cut up a chicken.  Later, my youthful, preppy self learned that you can buy chickens already cut up!  Now that I have reverted to local, free-range chickens, which come to me whole, I find that chicken-cutting-up skills, apparently, never leave you. 

2 lovely, free-range, local chickens  (mine were each about 3 pounds)
Coconut oil or your fat of choice
1 cup chopped tarragon
1 organic lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
8 cloves garlic, crushed or roughly chopped
1 cup white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pan juices from roasted chicken
1/2 cup Pure Eire organic Jersey cream
Fresh tarragon

Cut up chickens into leg/thigh pieces and breast pieces.   I left the breasts whole because I don't have a cleaver.  Put backs, necks, wings (if they're scrawny) into a plastic bag and freeze to make stock later.

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

In large Dutch oven, heat coconut oil.  Brown leg/thigh pieces on both sides and remove to plate.  Brown breasts on skin sides, then turn upright in pan.  Pour in white wine.  Scatter half the garlic and tarragon over the breasts, and top with half the lemon slices.  Place leg/thigh pieces on and around the breast pieces, and top with remaining garlic, tarragon, and lemon slices.
Cover, and bake for 50 minutes.  Check internal temperature of breasts; when it is 165 degrees, chicken is done.  Lift chicken pieces from the Dutch oven and place them in a shallow casserole.  If you've left the breasts whole, remove the meat from them for easy serving.

Pour chicken juices through a strainer into a suitably sized saucepan.  Heat to a simmer, reduce if desired, stir in cream, heat through and pour over chicken pieces.  Top with fresh tarragon sprigs or chopped tarragon.

Serve with optimally prepared, fresh, local vegetables of your choice.

Makes 8 to 10 hearty servings.  And don't forget to make stock with the backs, wings and bones!


  1. That sign makes me laugh every time I see it! I, too, have wondered the same as Mr. Eating the Scenery.

    Thanks as always for the yummy recipes! I can't wait to try a few with market fares.


  2. Hi, Tiffany ... I read that they took down the Yakima sign and people complained, saying they wanted it back, despite its cheesiness! So it was repainted and reinstalled! People are more able to laugh about and at themselves than we realize.