My Mom has been making a version of chicken tarragon (recipe below) since we we’re kids and it’s one of those dishes that everyone goes nuts for when she still does make it. The secret, aside from my mother being an amazing cook and a genius with sauces, is the homemade tarragon vinegar. I usually keep a small jar of this stuff lying around but since I’ve been going through so much of it lately I just upgraded to a giant jug and started a fresh batch. It’s super easy and always amazing. I also use it in Bernaise & hollandaise, vinaigrette, warm potato salad w/ shallots etc. (And check out the hollandaise link, it’s to Julia Childs blender recipe – easiest EVER. No double boiler needed).
The vinegar pot comes via William Sonoma. Love their stuff. It’s intended to make vinegar from scratch and included a cute little do-it-yourself guide, but I’m using pre-made apple cider vinegar (I’ll have to try their recipe at a future date). In the past I have used a large glass jar, you just need something that won’t be bothered by the acidic vinegar.
I have another large plant but this one is the prettiest. I’ll cut large stems, rinsing them thoroughly and then add about half the contents of the dried tarragon so it has a real kick. Penzeys sells a great product if you need to order, and if you’re using a glass jar the whole stems of tarragon look nice.
Then of course I add the vinegar.
Gotta love apple cider vinegar. Cover the herbs completely and let it sit for at least a couple weeks. It will smell awesome way before that. Also, you can always add a small amount of vinegar and then top it up with leftover white wine (there’s rarely leftover wine in my house) instead of the straight apple cider vinegar. You’ll have to let it sit and cure longer but it can be a mellower flavor – just remember to use good wine. And that’s it! So simple and so good.
(this is not a precise recipe – wing it a bit)
Chicken – preferably bone in but breast will work too, just don’t let it dry out
Couple cups of half and half (low calorie it is not)
Salt and pepper
Dash of baking soda (neutralizes the acid a bit)
Broil your chicken until it’s nicely browned and cooked through. While it’s cooking make your roux in a decent sized sauce pan and then add the half and half. Incorporate the two until the half and half starts to thicken. Season with the salt and pepper and throw in your dash of baking soda. Now add your vinegar, and I warn you it will curdle a bit, don’t freak out, just stir with a whisk and all will be well. When it looks relatively normal pour it over the chicken and return everything to the oven for a few minutes (turn it off of broil and onto bake at about 300).
Make a large pot of rice to pour the sauce onto as well.
Hope you enjoy making the vinegar. It’s really delicious and worth the effort.
Thanks as always for stopping by EG!
* Just a side note on the vinegar crock. Don’t buy one from William Sonoma. They DO NOT LAST and they have no plan in place to replace them! Use a glass jar of some type and keep it in a dark place.