Sunday, April 30, 2023

ChezCindy: Spring Roasted Chicken with Tarragon Butter


Melissa Clark, columnist for the New York Times Food section, recently posted a recipe for Roast Tarragon-Cognac Chicken as adapted from a recipe submitted by a reader.  Honestly, I knew the recipe would be delicious from the list of ingredients and the simple roasting process.  But once I made it and served it for dinner, I quickly realized this recipe turned out one of the best roasted chickens I have ever made.  Really.  

Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs that I cherish each Spring when it first sprouts from the earth as a perennial herb returning each year as a gift.  You might know tarragon from Steak Oscar with asparagus and crab and Bearnaise sauce where tarragon is the key ingredient for the Bearnaise.  I do think this roast chicken recipe is best as a Spring dish when tarragon is fresh from the garden with no heavy gravy like a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  The pan drippings from this roasted chicken are lighter and brighter.  

Check out the original recipe.  Or use my recipe with slight changes as shown below.  

Spring Roasted Chicken with Tarragon Butter and Cognac

1 4-pound whole chicken
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons Cognac, divided
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1 tablespoon Wondra flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt inside the cavity and over the outside of the chicken.  Place the chicken into a small roasting pan to fit the size of the chicken.  You could use a 11-inch cast enamel pan with shallow sides or a lasagna pan.   

In a small bowl, combine the butter, white pepper, tarragon and 1 tablespoon of Cognac, mixing well.  The Cognac may not fully incorporate.  Rub half of the butter mixture under the skin of the chicken, being sure to reach down to the legs and thighs, as well as the breasts.  Divide the remaining half of the butter mixture into the cavity of the chicken and over the outer skin of the chicken.  Pour any of the remaining Cognac that did not mix in with the butter into the cavity of the chicken.  Place the baking pan with the chicken into the hot oven, roasting for about 1 hour until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Remove the pan from the oven.  Turn off all sources of heat on your stove, including the oven and burners.  Pour the remaining tablespoon of Cognac over the chicken, basting the chicken with the pan juices.  Remove the chicken to your serving platter.  

Place your baking pan with the pan drippings over medium heat on the stovetop.  Pour in the chicken stock.  Bring all to a shallow boil.  Sprinkle in the Wondra flour, whisking to combine.  Taste to adjust for seasoning, adding salt or pepper as needed.  Serve the pan drippings with the carved roasted chicken with buttered mashed potatoes and a green vegetable if desired.  

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