I have to stop myself making this recipe all the time as it’s so good that I would happily eat it every night for dinner. Frying the chicken to make the skin super crispy and then roasting in cream to finish off the cooking makes the chicken incredibly tender. No dry chicken breast here.
I’ve used chestnut mushrooms because you can get them all year round in the supermarket, but if, by some miracle, you find beautiful wild mushrooms, fresh porcini, girolles or chanterelles for sale, then use them instead – the flavour from these mushrooms will be so much more intense and truly wonderful.
I’ve used a whole medium size chicken and cut it into pieces with my new kitchen scissors in this recipe. It took me all of 5 minutes. You get more chicken (and bone, which is imperative for good flavour) for your money than if you buy the chicken already cut into individual pieces. It’s definitely worth investing in some kitchen scissors or shears!
Miraculous ingredients: fresh tarragon, white wine
Pan seared chicken with chestnut mushrooms, tarragon, white wine and cream
1.3kg whole medium chicken cut into pieces or pre-cut chicken (2 x breasts, 2 x thighs, 2 x drum sticks)
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
300g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
100ml white wine
15g fresh tarragon, finely chopped
300ml double cream
Method Pre-heat the oven to 220C.
Whole chicken: Cut along both sides of the whole chicken’s back bone with kitchen scissors to remove. You can store the back bone in the freezer to use for making chicken stock later. Turn the chicken over, cut in between the chicken breasts along the bone to separate them and then cut between the thigh and chicken breast. Finally cut between the wing and chicken breast to end up with; 2 x chicken breasts, 2 x legs (thigh and drum stick) and 2 x wings.
Place a large, deep frying pan (that can also go into the oven) on a high heat and add enough extra virgin olive oil to be 1/2cm deep. Once the olive oil is hot (1 min) place the chicken pieces, skin side DOWN, into the pan to fry for about 15 minutes. Don’t be tempted to move the chicken in the pan as it will have stuck to the bottom and will need to develop a golden crispy skin before it can pull away from the base of the pan.
Once the chicken skin is a lovely golden, brown colour, remove from the pan to a plate.
Add the chopped garlic to the pan and fry for 30 seconds. Next, add the sliced mushrooms, stir and fry for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms are lightly browned and all the released water has evaporated.
Add the wine and cook for another 10 minutes until the wine has almost evaporated.
Add the chopped tarragon and stir. Add all the cream, water, lots of ground black pepper and salt to taste. Stir.
Turn the heat off under the frying pan and place the chicken pieces back into the pan to sit skin side UP in the cream sauce. Sprinkle the chicken skin with some sea salt flakes. Put the frying pan of chicken, cream and mushrooms into the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes. If you are using chicken pieces rather than a whole chicken cut up, then roast in the oven for 20 minutes as these pieces will be smaller.
When 25 minutes is up, remove the frying pan from the oven – remember to use lots of tea towels so you don’t burn yourself (I always do!) – and leave to rest for 10 minutes on the hob.
Serve with new potatoes or creamy mash, a salad or lovely green beans.
Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking 1 hour and 10 minutes, 2 adult portions, 2 children portions.