I was amazed last week when my son asked for this recipe. It's always been one of those quick quasi-fancy classic dishes - but I had no idea he loved it that much.
It's gloomy , rainy, and foggy outside - the perfect day to roast a chicken, don't you think? The sauce takes about three minutes to make, so it isn't difficult - as long as you remember to buy heavy cream and tarragon.
To roast the chicken:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Take any size chicken ( this one was 3 lbs), and rinse it off. Pat it dry with a paper towel. Place it in a roasting pan and squeeze a half a lemon over it, then place the lemon inside the cavity of the chicken. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken, and a few tiny pieces of unsalted butter. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with a teaspoon of dried tarragon.
Place in oven and reduce oven temperature to 350F.
Roast about an hour, or until chicken is browned and the juices run clear when you tip the pan. Jiggle the leg - if it jiggles freely, it is done. If it seems stiff, roast it another 20 minutes and try again.
To make the sauce:
Pour the juices from the chicken into a skillet. Using a spoon, remove as much of the fat as you can. A little is fine, but too much makes for an oily sauce.
Heat the juices until they're simmering, then add several tablespoons of heavy cream, whisking the juices and the cream together. Add another teaspoon of dried tarragon, whisk again, and taste carefully. Add salt, pepper, and more tarragon if wished.
Either serve pieces of chicken, or slices of chicken bathed in the sauce.
Obviously, the amount of sauce depends on the amount of juices - so if you have a larger chicken, it will take longer to cook, and require more cream and tarragon.
So there you go - a classic French sauce creme a l'estragon!
photo featured in photograzing : http://photograzing.seriouseats.com/2008/11/roast-chicken-with-tarragon-sauce-sauce-creme.html
And featured on Saveur online 9 November, 2009!