I always seem to have either too many fresh herbs or no fresh herbs in my house. Some herbs, like basil or cilantro, are easier for me to use up, and not completely waste. However when I need just one sprig of tarragon, I’m at a loss as to what I should do with the rest of it. So I did a google search to find other tarragon recipes and came across this one on theKitchn for Tarragon Chicken Fricassee. According to Webster’s dictionary, a fricassee is “a dish of pieces of meat (as chicken) or vegetables stewed in stock and served in a white sauce”, which to me sounds like a thick soup. I guess that’s what it ended up being, I ended up with a lot of leftover sauce, but that may be because I would rather have more of a rice dish than a soup. Guess that might defeat the purpose of a “fricassee”. For those that like to drench their rice or noodles with sauce, making a fricassee is probably for you. One note, is to use a large pan to cook all of this. In hindsight it would have made things much easier if I had use my dutch oven instead of a larger skillet, namely so I could easily put the chicken into the sauce for the second cooking without spilling sauce all over my stove.
Tarragon Chicken Fricassee
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (I used half butter and half olive oil, I figured the heavy cream later would cover some of the butter flavor)
10-12 pieces of chicken (I used 11 thighs, the original recipe calls for 1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 onion, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup white wine or champagne (I used vermouth)
2 cups chicken stock
4-5 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat two tablespoons of butter in a large braising pan over medium to medium-high heat. Coat each chicken piece in flour, tapping to remove excess, and add to the pan. Generously season the pieces with salt and pepper. Cook, flipping occasionally, until the chicken is lightly golden but not browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high, pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the stock, chicken pieces, and tarragon sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is very tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and tent with aluminum foil.
Increase the heat to high and reduce the cooking liquid by half; then turn heat to low. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cream. Whisk a few tablespoons of the hot chicken liquid into the egg yolk mixture, then pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Stir the minced tarragon and lemon juice into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with egg noodles or cooked white rice. Garnish with additional tarragon leaves, if desired.