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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tarragon Chicken in Bread Bowls

Tarragon. One of the distinct herbs that haunt me in my sleep, as I dream about Sonya's Garden and their tarragon tea... (one of my favorite places back home) - the lovely garden and getting away from the city, driving in the languid streets towards Buck Estate, looking forward to that exotic licorice-flavored ultra hot tea that was a perfect finish for the organic meal of fresh salad, freshly baked bread (with the mushroom pate!!!!), pasta...

and how I crave for it and how I can't have it now that a couple of thousand miles away...

so now, tarragon grows in a little pot in the front garden...

This is the Russian variety, hardy and easy to grow

This herb also goes very well with chicken, and after a bit of research, I stumbled upon this french recipe that combined the flavors of tomatoes, chicken, tarragon and vermouth...Sounded fabulous - so this is my version, served in little bread bowls (a recipe that I found at this site, and had been meaning to try for a long time!)

Tarragon Chicken in Bread Bowls
4 large chicken thigh fillets
3 whole tomatoes (i used tinned ones)
1 brown onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup vermouth
1/2 cup vegetable stock
4 stems tarragon, minced (a couple of whole leaves set aside for garnish)

for the bread bowls
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/4 tsp salt
around 1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp olive oil

for the mold - i used 2 small oven safe pyrex bowls, the bottoms sprayed with canola oil

Make the bread bowl first - mix all ingredients together and knead for around 6 minutes or until smooth. Let rest for around 20 minutes.

Divide dough to 2 pieces and let rest for another 10 minutes.

Flatten into circles around 1/2 inch thick. Spray with canola oil (or brush with melted butter). Cover the upturned oil bowls with the flattened dough, oiled side facing the oiled bottom. Bake for 20-25minutes at 200C, or until golden brown.

While the bread the bread bakes, you can cook your chicken :

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and sear in batches in a bit of olive oil. Set aside. Soften garlic and onions until translucent, add vermouth and let the alcohol bubble away. Pour in stock, tomatoes, tarragon and chicken, cover and let simmer until chicken is almost done. Remove cover and let some of the juices evaporate (depending on how "saucy" you would like it to be). As this was going to be served in bread bowls, I wanted the sauce to be not too thin, nor not too thick!

Spoon into the prepared bread bowls (I sliced the chicken into bite sized pieces first - i did this last as i think that the chicken will be juicier if cooked whole, rather than sliced) and garnish with remaining tarragon leaves.

Serve immediately!


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