I love chicken pot-roast. Almost any kind of it. But to me this one is as wholesome and life-affirming as a walk in a blue-bell wood. Also as simple to appreciate and rare to find…
I love the earthy smell of the chicken combined with the aniseed taste of tarragon and none better than Elizabeth David can give an English twist to a very French recipe. I used her recipe from French provincial cooking.
One plump chicken
Tarragon leaves, chopped (one handful)
Garlic 1/2 clove
salt and pepper
Clean and pat your chicken dry than rub it all over with olive oil.
Knead the chunk of butter with the pressed garlic, the tarragon leaves, salt and pepper until it forms a smooth ball that you can then insert into the chicken, the natural way.
Put it in a cast iron skillet and roast in the oven for 45 min. Turning at half-time. When the bird is cooked, remove from the oven and pour a glass of brandy over it while trying to crack a match: This proved difficult but a good laugh and a few matches later we almost succeeded… Almost “flambé”.
Apparently, according to the recipe, heating the brandy first in a ladle guaranties success. Noted.
Return the bird to a low oven for a good 5 to 10 minutes. At this point you can add a good spoonful of crème fraîche to get a longer and fuller sauce. Serve hot but please not with this dry boiled rice in neat, flavourless cone-shaped fashion that people associate with any chicken in cream sauce: This is to my palate the most useless “garniture” both sides of the Channel. A fresh, crisp lettuce salad will do much better. Especially if you add more chopped tarragon into it!