This recipe was born of necessity -- as in, more guests than expected showed up for dinner one night when there was lots of tarragon on hand. This chicken tastes great cold, too.
Servings: 10 - 12
- 2 bunches tarragon leaves, minced and set aside separately, with several sprigs saved for garnish
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 3 medium shallots, quartered
- 1 tablespoon ground fennel
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves, broken in half
- 16 whole black peppercorns
- 1 large lemon, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 12 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or 10 chicken thighs and drumsticks
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 10-ounce bags matchstick carrots (already cut up)
- 1 1/2 ounces (1 package) demi-glace, such as Poulet Gold brand
In a mini-chopper, blender or food processor, combine half of the minced tarragon with the salt. Puree, slowly adding 1/4 cup of the vinegar. Add the shallots and the ground fennel, and puree. Transfer to a small saucepan, adding the remaining vinegar, the chicken broth, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 12 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by a third. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and let cool to room temperature. Reserve about 1/3 of the marinade (refrigerate) for basting the chicken.
Combine the lemon slices and olive oil in a large (2-gallon) plastic food storage bag. Seal, and massage the lemon slices to release their juice and oils. Add the room-temperature marinade.
Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the marinade, reseal the bag and massage to distribute the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours; if you can, reach in and redistribute the marinade at 15-minute intervals.
When ready to cook, prepare the grill: If using a gas grill, heat it to high. If using a charcoal grill, start the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them under the cooking area for direct and indirect heat. Oil the grate.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade and shaking off any excess before placing the chicken on the grate. Basting occasionally with the reserved refrigerated marinade, grill for 20 minutes, turning the chicken once, then reduce the heat to medium-low (or move to the indirect heat area) and grill for about 20 minutes until done.
Heat the marinade from the bag in a medium saucepan over high heat and boil for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are crisp-tender. Add the remaining tarragon and toss to combine. Use tongs to transfer the carrots to a large ovenproof serving platter, reserving the marinade in the pan, and make a heap of them in the center. Invert an ovenproof glass bowl over them and keep warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve.
Add the demi-glace to the marinade in the saucepan, stirring to combine. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.
When the chicken is done, remove the bowl from the carrots, arrange the chicken pieces around the carrots and pour the marinade/sauce over the chicken. Garnish the edges of the platter with tarragon sprigs, if desired. Pass any extra sauce at the table. Serve warm.
From former Pensacola News-Journal food editor Lou Elliott Jones.
Tested by Mary Pat Flaherty.
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