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.