This one sounds more complicated than it really is. It does need to be started ahead of time to give it plenty of time in the brine but it’s still a fairly simple process. The brining made for some incredibly tender and juicy chicken. I added tarragon to the brine mixture this time because I was planning the tarragon sauce. Vary the herbs or seasoning according to your preferences or favorite chicken flavors. Simply roasting the brined chicken would be easy and delicious. Whole roasters or parts, you can’t go wrong.
The Tarragon Vinegar Cream Sauce was inspired by this old favorite. Since I was cooking for 12, fitting it all into one saute pan just wasn’t going to happen. Besides, I wanted something that could just go in the oven for a while to give me time to socialize a bit while getting the rest of the dinner together. Served up with Gouda grits and roasted veggies, it was a huge hit. It’d pair equally well with polenta, risotto or potatoes.
First, the brine. I put this together the night before and let the chicken brine overnight. Allow a minimum of 12 hours.
- Chicken – I used an assortment of breasts and thighs. Use your favorite parts or a whole chicken or two.
- Water, 1/2 gallon
- Kosher Salt, 1/2 cup
- Brown Sugar, 1/2 cup
- Peppercorns, 2 tablespoons
- Bay Leaves, 2 or 3
- Tarragon Sprigs
Pour the brine into the bag along with the chicken and squish out all the excess air before sealing the bag. This is much easier with a helper to hold the bag upright while you pour in the brine mixture.
Now, the next day it’s time to put it all together:
- Brined Chicken
- Garlic, 3 or 4 cloves, minced
- Yellow or White Onion, 1, sliced into thin rings
- Olive Oil, 2 or 3 tablespoons
- Tomato Paste, about half of a small can
- Tarragon, 2 tablespoons fresh snipped or dry equivalent
- Bay Leaves, 2 or 3
- Black Pepper
- Dry White Wine, 1 1/2 cups
- Tarragon Vinegar, 1 cup
- Heavy Cream, 3/4 cup
Over medium heat, heat just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of an oven-proof saute pan or a roaster pan. Cook the garlic and onion until it begins to soften then add the paste, tarragon and bay leaves.
(Yes, I know roaster pans aren’t designed for the stove top. Oh well. There’s no way all my chicken would fit into a saute pan, even my giant one. I could’ve done the stove top part in a saute pan then moved it to the roaster pan for baking then back to the saute pan for the sauce but I didn’t bother. I’m lazy like that sometimes.)
Remove the chicken to a platter and cover it to keep it hot. Skim the excess fat from the pan and then set it back on the stove over medium to medium-high heat. Add the vinegar and let it simmer until it’s reduced by nearly half.