Sautéed Chicken with Tarragon and Mustard

Crispy skinned chicken, with moist succulent meat and a gently spiced sauce. It’s one of my favourite suppers to cook whenever I’ve invited over just a couple of friends.

A quick note on the mustard: I tend to use the fantastic mustard from Philippe’s in downtown LA for this — I bring it back to London by the case — but I recognise that this is not something that’s available to everyone. If you blend English and French mustards in equal quantities, you’ll come very close to the Phillippe’s soft fieriness.

1 chicken, jointed into 8 pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

25g butter

175ml white wine

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

2–3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoons double cream

1 tablespoon mustard (½ English, ½ French)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based, non-stick frying pan or, ideally, a cast-iron skillet. (It should be large enough to fit all the chicken pieces.) Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and sauté over a low to medium hob until cooked. It will take about 35 minutes in all, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Begin with the chicken skin-side down, and don’t touch it for at least 10 minutes to make sure the skin turns golden and crispy. Then turn from time to time to ensure it cooks evenly. To check it’s done, stab the fattest piece to see that the juices are running clear.

When the chicken is cooked, set it aside on a warm plate. Spoon off the excess fat, leaving just a tablespoon behind in the pan. Return to the heat and add the garlic. Cook until it’s nutty and golden, then pour in the wine. Bubble it up, scraping up any cooking residues into the sauce. After a couple of minutes, add the tarragon, mustard and cream. Stir together to emulsify, cooking the sauce for a minute or so longer. Check and adjust the seasoning. Then return the chicken to the pan.

Serve with boiled new potatoes and summer vegetables, or with a salad and some crusty bread.

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