Tarragon is such an amazing herb that in my opinion is grossly under used. It’s something I don’t often cook with myself as I tend to forget about it, but every time I do I think why don’t I use tarragon more often?! Tarragon with chicken is such a classic pairing and when I decided to make a hearty and classic chicken stew, as an alternative to a big roast dinner, for Sunday lunch I thought the under appreciated herb would be the perfect flavour to add to it.
A classic British chicken stew can be a tricky thing to get right as without the benefit of lots of spices that I might put into a similar Indian or Middle Eastern inspired dish there is the danger of it being too bland. This is where you have to be really hot on seasoning, continuously tasting to get it right and picking the right herbs. Tarragon has a fantastic lemony flavour, so much so that The Boyfriend didn’t believe me when I told him I hadn’t put any lemon in this dish.
This dish makes a fantastic lighter, more summer appropriate alternative to your Sunday roast. It’s quite a versatile dish, you could serve it with dumplings, green vegetables, rice or simply with a nice crusty buttered roll for dipping. My personal favourite is the latter! This recipe makes plenty for a large crowd or if like me you only have a couple of mouths to feed, is ideal for freezing in batches.
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, diced into bite size pieces
2 parsnips, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 small potato, diced
100ml white wine
1.5 tbsps self raising flour
Salt and pepper
1 chicken stock cube or stock pot
200g fresh green beans, chopped in half
1 tin flageolet beans
Small bunch fresh tarragon, finely chopped
200g Creme fraiche
1. Preheat oven to 160ºC.
2. On the hob in a large casserole dish on a medium to high heat, heat the oil and gently fry the chicken thighs in batches until browned. When mostly cooked, remove from the dish and set aside. Don’t worry about cooking the chicken thoroughly at this stage, you just want to get a nice bit of colour on it.
3. In the same dish add the parsnips, carrots, potato and onions and cook gently until the vegetables are softened. After a couple of minutes, add the wine and let it sizzle and bubble up, steaming the vegetables.
4. When the vegetables have cooked, sprinkle over the flour and coat thoroughly. Allow to cook for a couple fo minutes. Meanwhile boil the kettle.
4. Cover the vegetables with boiled water and add the stock.
5. Return the chicken to the pot and add the green beans and tin of flageolet beans. Don’t worry about draining them, empty the whole tin into the mix. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for around 5 minutes.
6. Add the tarragon and mix through the dish.
7. Put the lid on the casserole and put in the oven for an hour.
8. Remove from the oven, remove the lid and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before stirring through the creme fraiche.
9. Spoon into bowls and serve with a crusty roll.