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.
CREAMY LEMON, GARLIC AND TARRAGON CHICKEN
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
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.
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!