Tarragon Roast Chicken with Mustard Sauce

This is such an easy-peasy delicious dinner.  The sauce practically makes itself.

I think Keith Floyd said that you should never cook with a wine that’s not good enough for you to drink.  I disagree!  Anything dry and white, even if it costs just £3, will do very nicely.

1 chicken, any size

half pint of dry white wine

half pint of water

2 big knobs of butter/or a drizzle of olive oil

bunch chopped fresh tarragon or a dessert spoon dried tarragon

salt and pepper

heaped teaspoon dijon mustard

small tub double cream

Put your chicken in a lidded casserole with the water and wine.  Sprinkle with tarragon (keeping a little back), salt and pepper.  Put some inside the bird if you like.

Smear the butter over the top of the chicken or drizzle with a little olive oil.

Cover with a tight lid, and cook the chicken according to instructions plus 10 minutes.  It usually takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, unless you’ve bought a monster.  But do check that it’s properly cooked in the usual way:  Wiggle one of its legs – it should wobble freely or drop off totally.  If the leg is still in tact, insert a knife into the fleshiest part:  The juices should run clear.

Put the chicken to one side while you pour the remaining cooking juices into a smallish pan (do this through a sieve if the liquid looks unappetising), then return the chicken to the casserole, put the lid on and leave it to rest.

When you’re ready to serve the chicken, whisk the mustard into the chicken juices and bring to a brisk boil.  Taste carefully.  If the chicken flavour is too strong for you, add a little more water.  If it’s not tasty enough, add the resting juices from the roast chicken (there will be a bit more liquid by now), or add some more salt, pepper or mustard.

Now you’re ready to add the cream.  Add a couple of tablespoons at a time (probably the whole tub) and warm through until it’s the way you like it.  If you let it bubble, it will thicken.  If you have any fresh tarragon left, you could add this last minute to the sauce.

Carve at the table with a jug of mustard sauce on the side.


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