This is the lightest, most summery dish and very adaptable to what you have on hand. Please don’t skip the cider, mustard and tarragon though … they are what brings the other ingredients to life and makes your guests reach for hunks of bread to dunk in the delectable sauce.
What vegetables you use depend on what you have handy … as it’s a one-pot dish and the garden is bursting with all sorts of good things, I used broad beans, peas, carrots, baby new potatoes and (the second time around, not shown in the picture below) French beans.
The timings I’ve given are for fresh vegetables, in somewhat rough and ready measurements. A few more or less won’t affect the overall dish. It’s fine to use frozen peas and broad beans. Just defrost them first.
This is adapted, with a few minor changes, from a Riverford recipe. Please don’t be tempted to thicken the sauce, it would spoil it. Just scoop into bowls and provide spoons alongside the knives and forks. And that bread.
Chicken with Summer Vegetables
1kg skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
400ml dry cider (I used Aspall’s)
2 bay leaves
400ml hot chicken stock
Heaped double handful of podded broad beans
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced small
Heaped double handful of podded peas
2 fistfuls of French beans, trimmed
Baby new potatoes, 5-6 per person, scraped of their skins, halved if large
2 tbsp grain mustard
2 tbsp double cream
Big handful of fresh tarragon leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil, add the broad beans and blanch for one minute. Remove, cool under the cold tap and once cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large heat-proof casserole or deep frying pan,one with a lid. On a fairly high heat, quickly fry the chicken pieces in batches until golden brown on both sides. The aim is to colour them, not cook them through. Remove and set aside.
Reduce the heat and in the same pan, fry the onions gently until golden brown, then add the garlic and cook for two minutes more. Add the cider, bring to the boil and let it bubble for five minutes.
Put the chicken back in the pan and add the bay leaves and stock. Season, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer for another 15 minutes with the lid on.
Now add the diced carrots, broad beans and peas, the mustard and cream and cook for another five minutes. Check that the chicken and carrots are cooked through and if not, simmer a little longer.
Stir through the tarragon, check the seasoning, and serve.
Great way to start the weekend. Yummy, just what I like in a perfect chicken sauce: cider, mustard, tarragon & double cream! Great with pork chops, too and if we had not had those with that wonderful sauce (though no cider) on Wednesday, I’d be running out to get a chicken asap.
Glad you like it, Nicole, hopefully a case of great minds thinking alike. 🙂 Have a great weekend.
sounds good, are u so lucky to get quality chicken?I find chicken (much more than beef or lamb) is one of those food that has become very, very difficult to get, I mean good quality: my local farmers market organic chic from a farm is about £ 10/kg.. ok, nothing special. I remember, many many years ago chicken to have this rather tough, pleasantly tough, meat and now, in my experience, is often… sort of pappy… I might be remembering the past with tinted spectacles… s
We have a very good chicken producer in Suffolk called Sutton Hoo … free range and not cheap but markedly different in taste to even the most expensive free range supermarket chickens I can get here. I’d rather eat less chicken that’s good than lots of tasteless chicken. Lx
thanks for the tip, Linda : I have checked and my local butchers do stock them. I will give them a try
Oh, good I hope you rate them as highly as I do, will be interested to know what you think. Lx
Oh yes! And I agree with Stefano, that a really good chicken is hard to find. We were spoilt in France, when they were killed to order, and delivered to us complete with giblets and scrawny head. I quite liked that somehow, it seemed more respectful to the creature to have it sent intact – apart from feathers of course.
Yes, it irritates me that the giblets are usually not included … I don’t know what most producers do with them (cat food? export?) but I always feel a bit cheated if the bird comes without them. Sutton Hoo (see response to Stefano) does include them. Then of course there’s always the danger that you get so used to birds comings sans giblets that you forget to look and roast the dratted thing with a plastic bag up its bum. 🙂
Sutton Hoo chickens: hi Linda, I finally purchased and cooked a SH chicken: they are very good indeed, the best in many years actually. much better than any supermarket organic chicken.
I found it at one on my local, less posh butchers at a reasonable 7.50/kg, which I was happy to pay.
thanks for the tip. stefano
Oh, good, I’m glad you found it to be a quality product. They do taste way above average, I think. Lx