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From Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Very moist chicken with a rich cream sauce. The sauce is so rich that I would follow Julia's recommendation of very simple sides that don't compete with the flavors at all... buttered peas and baked or mashed potatoes work well. This recipe looks very long, but is actually quite easy... just prep the bird and throw in the oven. The sauce comes together quickly at the end.
- 1⁄2 cup sliced carrot
- 1⁄2 cup sliced onion
- 4 1⁄2 lbs whole chickens
- 3 tablespoons soft butter
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 1⁄2 cups dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 parsley sprigs
- 1 branch fresh tarragon (or 1/T dried)
- chicken giblets, washed
- salt, as needed
- 2 tablespoons soft butter
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 2⁄3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons soft butter
- salt, to taste
- white pepper, to taste
- lemon juice, to taste
- Preheat oven to 325, then cook the onions and carrots on the stovetop (in a casserole just large enough to hold the whole chicken) in 2 T butter until vegetables are tender but not brown.
- Rub the outside of the bird with 1.5T of the butter and place the other 1.5 T inside the bird. Sprinkle the outside with half of the salt and tarragon and the inside with the other half. Truss and arrange the chicken breast-side-up on top of the sauteed vegetables in the casserole.
- Pour the wine into the casserole and add enough of the chicken broth to reach about 1/3 of the way up the chicken. Add the herbs and giblets. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Drape the damp cheesecloth over the breast and thighs. It should be long enough to fall into the liquid on either side so that is will draw the broth over the chicken and basted it during the cooking. Smear remaining butter over cheesecloth and top with a layer of waxed paper. Cover casserole and set in the preheated oven.
- Bake chicken for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Watch to make sure that the liquid remains at a very soft simmer and adjust temperature accordingly if needed. When chicken is done (juices should run clear), remove chicken to a platter and strain the cooking juices. Return one cup of the stock to the casserole with the chicken. Cover to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.
- For sauce: Melt butter in saucepan, blend in flour with a wooden spoon and stir over moderate heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat and as soon as it stops bubbling, add 2 cups of the hot chicken stock,, blending vigorously with a wire whisk.when smooth, set over moderate heat and stir slowly as sauce thickens and comes to a boil. Boil, stirring for 2 minutes. Sauce will be quite thick.
- Pour in 1/3 cup of the cream and add successive spoonfuls until sauce thins out but is still thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. Check seasoning and add salt, white pepper and lemon juice to taste. Just before serving beat in the remaining 2 T butter.
- Carve the chicken and top with the sauce.
Very rich, but elegant recipe with a great taste. I would recommend this to any one who loves tarragon and lemon. The sauce rather thick but has a wonderful flavor. Very enjoyable recipe
I made this twice about 2 years ago. Having chicken loving guests for Sunday dinner and I am going to make it again. I remember how everyone enjoyed it - beautifully moist with a delicate tarragon taste. The sauce was lovely - I cut the lemon by half, to be nearly undetectable. I would recommend this even for a novice. Read the recipe and instructions 1st, think of it in logical terms and dive in. You'll receive accolades. ENJOY