A few weeks ago, I reported that we had prepared a dish of Tarragon Chicken according to the recipe in Mastering the art of French cooking.
We made it again last weekend, using a smaller chicken, known variously as spatchcock or poussin. At this second time round, we were familiar enough with the method that we felt comfortable to pause and take some photos along the way.
One advantage of using the smaller fowl is that it was easier to handle it as we browned all areas of the skin in a pan.
We sautéed the three aromats – onion, carrot and celery – for longer before they went in the pot under the chicken, to compensate for the shorter cooking time. And we added a drizzle of chicken stock to compensate for the fact that a spatchcock is quite lean, so there is very little fat to render and keep the dish moist.
To prepare the sauce, you remove the cooked bird and add about 1 cup of stock per kilo of chicken, let it bubble for a few minutes then strain it through a sieve and pour the liquid back into the pan. It is thickened using a thin paste of corn starch and a fortified wine; the recipe specified Madeira or Port – we preferred a medium-dry sherry-style wine or apera.
The dish was just as delightful as at our first attempt and, from this one small chicken, we had an evening meal each and a work-day lunch for Maggie.