Servings: four to six.
In my experience, a poultry sauté is one of the most overlooked techniques in French cooking. It’s easier than pan-frying and more elegant than a stew. A sauté refers to dredging a cut-up bird (usually a small chicken) in flour before cooking it in a deep skillet with either butter or olive oil and very little, if any, added liquid. As the chicken cooks, it simmers in its own juices mingled with the fat, creating a very concentrated, rich sauce. Most cooks add some aromatics (onions, leeks, or shallots) and a bit of wine or vinegar to balance the richness.
Make Ahead Tips
This dish can be made a day or two ahead, but don’t add the last teaspoon of tarragon. Reheat gently in a covered baking dish in a 325°F oven for about 30 min., adding a few tablespoons of water or chicken broth if the chicken appears dry. Sprinkle with the tarragon and serve.
Steam small red or white potatoes until tender. Just before serving, sauté the potatoes in butter until browned and crispy.
The vinegar and crème fraîche elements in this dish call for a racy white wine with herbal elements. Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice; look for wines from the Sancerre or Pouilly- Fumé regions of France. The 2004 André Vatan Sancerre, $16, and the 2004 Henri Bourgeois Pouilly-Fumé, La Porte de l’Abbaye, $16, would be good bottles to try.
Leave the lid of the skillet slightly ajar to let some steam escape during cooking. This concentrates the liquid for a more intense sauce, and it also ensures that the liquid doesn’t boil or simmer too hard, which would overcook the chicken.
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Excellent version of this classic dish! Shallots are, to me, more authentic and flavorful in this dish than regular onions, but one needs patience and/or good knife skills as they are smaller. The other sub I would recommend is Banyuls vinegar, which is the sweeter, slightly boozy cousin of red wine vinegar and the one you’re likely to find in an authentic version in France. Homemade red wine vinegar, if you have your own vinegar crock or know someone that does, is also excellent.
Takes some time but worth it! Actually quite simple with only a handful of ingredients. Delicious! Paired with roasted green beans and brown rice with walnuts and golden raisins and even the kids liked it all!!
I've made this often. It has an amazing depth of flavour and richness brought about by the caramelized onions and tarragon. Simple and delicious.
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