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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Supremely delicious, easy and a dinner party favorite to come back to!
another fine, fine recipe .
I have made this several times since it was published. Delicous and very impressive for company dinners.
So few ingredients and so wonderfully delicious!
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