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27/07/2018 15:26 BST | Updated 27/07/2018 15:26 BST

Chicken With Tarragon And Vermouth Recipe

We’ve had the longest dry spell for years but in spite of the heatwave, sometimes you long for something other than a salad. So here’s a recipe for those summer evenings when you want a hot meal but without a lot of stodge.

I used white vermouth in the sauce. You can use white wine, or a dry sherry, Madeira or cider if that’s what you have to hand, but (and I think it was Yotam Ottolenghi who defined this in something I read the other day) the vermouth gives it a slight bitter-sweetness and a floral quality that adds a little more complexity and depth.

We ate it with baby new potatoes and French beans.

Chicken with Tarragon and Vermouth (serves 4)

Linda Duffin

Ingredients:

1kg chicken thighs (or thighs and drumsticks), skin on, bone in, preferably free range

2 tbsp oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp plain flour

Large wine glass of white vermouth

250ml chicken stock

2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped, plus a few sprigs to garnish

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Splash of double cream

Method:

:: Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan or casserole and fry the chicken until it is browned all over and the skin is crisp. Remove and set aside.

:: Add the onions to the pan and cook until soft and golden. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two then pour in the vermouth, stir, and let it bubble up and thicken.

:: Gradually add the chicken stock with half the chopped tarragon and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste, remembering that the sauce will reduce and the saltiness will intensify.

:: Put the chicken back in the pan, skin side up, along with any juices that have run. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

:: Remove the chicken and keep warm. Add the remaining chopped tarragon and a splash of double cream, stir and reduce until the sauce reaches the consistency you like. Check the seasoning, put the chicken back in the pan and gently re-heat.

:: Serve garnished with the reserved sprigs of tarragon.