Tarragon Chicken with Mushrooms

It’s not always easy to find tarragon but one of my local shops in Turnham Green Terrace (www.lemonandlimes.co.uk) is very good on herbs and that’s where I found this generous bunch. I love it’s gentle but fresh and vital aniseedy flavour. A tablespoon of chopped leaves went into this creamy chicken dish, the colour darkened by mushrooms but the flavour and texture deliciously enhanced. I served it with sprouts – a passion at the moment – but almost anything goes, from mashed potato to pasta or noodles, or another green vegetable.

Serves 2
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 35 min

1 onion
4 or 5 medium size closed cap mushrooms
4 chicken thigh fillets, approx 460g
40g butter
1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
150ml white wine
1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves (stripped from stalks)
150ml chicken stock
3 tbsp creme fraiche or thick cream

Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Wipe the mushrooms and slice thickly. Slice the chicken down the unfurled fillets, making 4 or 5 two-bite pieces. Dust with flour, shaking off excess. Melt half the butter in half the oil in a spacious, lidded frying/saute pan over a medium heat and brown the chicken pieces in uncrowded batches, transferring to a plate as you go. Return all the pieces and add the wine. Bubble up and away, stirring as best you can, stirring to loosen the pieces. Scatter over half the tarragon, stir and tip onto the plate. Add remaining butter and oil to the pan and stir in the onion with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until slippery soft, allow about 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, stirring as they turn damp and glossy. Return the chicken, add most of the remaining tarragon, stock and 3 tbsp crème fraiche. Establish a steady but gentle simmer, cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the ingredients united. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in the last of the tarragon just before serving.