Tarragon Chicken

tc1Memories. Some of them will bring a smile to our face and some will make us turn bright red. The other day a song by Phil Collins came on the radio. In an instant, I was thrown back 25 years to the 9th grade. A week long school trip in a double decker bus to Paris. I remember killing travel time by listening to this live album on my portable “Walkman” cd-player. Even though I had a proper seat assigned to me, most of the trip I sat in the corner of the spiral stairs connecting the first and second floor of the bus. Not sure why since it wasn’t the slightest bit comfortable and people constantly bumped into me on their way up or down. Maybe it was the quietest spot around. I’m not sure. Either way, it didn’t seem to bother me. I was a serious day dreamer growing up. Part of my brain was always in my own world. I drifted away, gazing out the window, pretending to be attending an amazing live concert by Phil Collins. 

A few hours before arriving in Paris the bus pulled off the road and we all got out in front of what seemed to be a rather non-pretentious and run down gargote. I turned off Phil. Time for lunch. I ordered the special – tarragon chicken. Ridiculously delicious. Chicken cooked with vegetables and broth. A splash of cream and lots of tarragon. What a match. When I got back home I told my parents about the dish and that evening my mom made the Swedish adaptation of the same dish. Very close. She said it’s a Swedish classic. Who knew.

I wonder if Phil Collins likes tarragon.tc3

1 large carrot

1 large onion

1/2 bulb of fennel

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive oil

8-10  skinless, boneless chicken thighs

3 cups chicken stock

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 bunch fresh tarragon

1/2 cup cream

1/3 cup white vermouth

2 tbsp flour

1 green onion

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper

1/2 tbsp dijon mustard

Peel and roughly dice the carrot, onion and fennel. In a large cast iron pot, melt the butter and olive oil. Brown the chicken on medium-high heat 2-3 min/side. Drain off the fat from the chicken, then add vegetables and chicken stock along with the garlic and half the tarragon. Let simmer for 20-25 min or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken and drain the broth into a separate pot. Discard the vegetables. On high heat, reduce the broth by half or 2/3. Add cream and vermouth. Mix the flour in a little bit of water and add to the broth. Finely chop the green onion and the rest of the tarragon and add as well along with salt, pepper and mustard. Place the chicken back into the sauce and let simmer for a couple of minutes.

Serve with rice or potatoes. Serves 4-5tc6 tc2tc4

Swedish Cheese Tart

ct3ct2Pies and tarts are two things I will never grow tired of. The options for the filling are endless. Sweet or savoury, it doesn’t matter. This Swedish inspired Cheese Tart is more delicate than your regular quiche. There’s no ham, so vegetarians can rejoice and enjoy. A great option for a light week night dinner or to be served at a weekend luncheon. Would you feel the need for meat, prosciutto is a great side. I serve it with a dollop of sour cream, arugula lettuce and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze.

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Crust:

200 g sifted flour

100 g unsalted, cold butter.

1 egg

pinch of salt

2 tbsp ice water

 

Filling:

3 Eggs

300g Shredded Cheese, such as Gruyère or other hard, nutty cheese.

3/4 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp finely chopped tarragon

Pinch of salt (not too much, the cheese will add saltiness as well)

Pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400F.

Crust:

Add the flour to a food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour along with the egg. Pulse a few times and add one tablespoon of ice water at a time. Keep pulsing until it forms a ball of dough. It shouldn’t take more than 30 to 45 seconds. You may need a third table spoon of ice water.

Remove the dough and flatten the ball somewhat. Dust with flour, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour to rest. It is important not to over manipulate the dough to ensure flakiness.

Roll the dough and line a pie shell, prick it with a fork then bake blind for 10-12 min.

Filling:

Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the pie shell, and bake in the lower part of the oven for 30-35 min, or until tart is set and has a nice golden colour. Let it cool slightly before serving. Serves 6-8.

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