What a find this recipe is!
It is based upon the "Chicken Hot Pot" from Olive Magazine (which you can see here), except without the new potatoes and with some gnocchi. Also, why buy Kenyan beans when there is lovely tenderstem broccoli out there? Okay, the country of origin is still Kenya, but then I'd rather have tenderstem over squeaky beans any day!
I cut the recipe out of the magazine absolutely ages ago - probably close to two years ago, now. When I first mooted having it, hubby obviously didn't quite understand what was involved in the recipe, as he wasn't keen. So I kept hold of the little slip of paper, because I really wanted to try it.
I slipped it onto the menu list at the beginning of last week and crossed my fingers. I was hoping that the use of the word "gnocchi" might overshadow any memories of having rejected the recipe earlier. I also, strategically, didn't call it "Hot Pot" as I know that brings connotations of a casserole with a layer of sliced potatoes on top - which is not one of hubby's favourite things.
Having read through the recipe again, I could see that it should turn out a sauce that would be acceptable with gnocchi and, as both hubby and son really like gnocchi, was hopeful that those little puffy potato clouds would suit them - and they did.
As is so often the way, the recipe is superbly simple to produce and right from the word go you can tell that it's going to be a corker. I mean, leeks and garlic cooked in butter - if ever there was a great start, it's that one. Capitalise on that great start by adding wine, tarragon and creme fraiche (especially creme fraiche D'Isigny, as I did) - you just can't go wrong!
Because the leek I had bought was only very thin, I used three spring onions just to boost the oniony flavour. I figured that spring onion, being sweet, is about as close as you can get to a leek! I also used chicken breast instead of the chicken thighs, basically because the chaps here prefer chicken breast. So owing to that plus the lack of potatoes, the sauce didn't require as long to cook as the original recipe said. I will try to make a bit more sauce next time - and there will be a next time - as it was absolutely gorgeous and I ran out a bit early, when it was on the plate. Those gnocchi are too good at absorbing sauce!
TARRAGON CHICKEN served with Gnocchi and Tenderstem broccoli (serves 3)
A knob of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into 3 pieces each
1 leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 garlic clove, grated
1 glass (generous) white wine
400ml chicken stock
1 tsp dried tarragon leaves (or fresh, if you can get it - use a little more)
3 tbsp creme fraiche (use half fat if you want to reduce the fat content)
sufficient gnocchi for 3 people
a pack of tenderstem broccoli (or other green vegetable of your choice).
1. In a large frying pan, heat the knob of butter and olive oil. Once heated, add the chicken and, on a high heat, fry until golden brown on at least two sides. The chicken doesn't need to be cooked through at this stage. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve in a warm place.
2. Add the leeks and spring onion to the pan and cook on a reduced heat until beginning to soften.
3. Increase the heat under the pan, then return the chicken to the pan and add the wine. Allow it to frizzle for a moment or two, then reduce the heat again.
4. At this stage, boil some salted water in two pans - one for the gnocchi, one for the tenderstem broccoli.
5. Add the chicken stock, tarragon leaves and season to taste. Allow to simmer for some 10-20 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by almost half and the chicken is cooked through.
6. Slot the gnocchi into the cooking process around this time, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mine took just 3 minutes. Likewise with the tenderstem broccoli. Mine took around 5 minutes to cook.
7. Getting back to the chicken, add the creme fraiche and stir to combine. Taste to check the seasoning and allow to simmer so as to thicken the sauce slightly whilst you drain the gnocchi and tenderstem.