Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Here Comes The Sun - Chicken in Tarragon and Tomato Cream Sauce

Energy. I gots it.

Uh oh. That usually means I am going to do too much and suffer for it. Intellectually I know that I should slow down, but I can't.  Something compels me to jump up and do stuff. I really cannot sit still. Adult ADD or something - maybe it's the fibromyalgia. Maybe it's Maybelline.

Yesterday I cooked too much - as if there is such a thing - and prepared a glorious chicken dish that will make you wish you lived here so you could have some. Or you could take a quick trip to the Food Mecca of your choosing, haul out your electric frying pan, and have at it. Later. I have to go cage my tomatillos and rhubarb. Allon-sy!

I have a new earworm:

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun,
and I say, It's all right
Little darling
It's been a long, cold lonely winter
Little darling
It feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun,
and I say, It's all right
I came by it honestly, trying to finish planting brassicas and lettuce before the sun came careening around the corner of my house:

Well, at least the spinach is safe, but I am done gardening for the day. It may take me the rest of the week to plant those lettuces, but I've got some major limitations here, courtesy of My Friend Fibro, the cheeky bastard. 

The porch plants have been turned and watered, the caging is complete, a couple of hundred aphids have been killed, and the spinach are in the ground, soaking up the nutrients.  That was gorgeous, rich dirt that James procured, and it has been enriched with 10-10-10 fertilizer.

I am inspired to start a whole new project that has nothing to do with cooking, gardening, knitting, or coloring books. Really? you say. Really, I say. It has to do with books and shelves and stairs and moving in. Yes, I know I've been living here for a year and a half.  I lived in my last house for 12 years and never completely unpacked. I'll keep you advised.

This glorious chicken recipe is from a neat cookbook, The Soup Mix Gourmet, by Diane Phillips, published in 2001. You all know that as much as I like cooking with fresh foods, some of them right out of my garden, and creating recipes from scratch, I am not the type of snob who turns up her nose at a recipe involving a can of Campbell's cream of anything, a cake mix, or a packet by Knorr's.  And do I ever love their bouillon cubes!  This book - and I hope you can find it - has 375 recipes that get a little boost from some pre made  product.  Honestly, the stuff is really good.  This is my favorite from the book, and I have made it a number of times which is unusual for one such as me who rarely repeats a recipe more than once a decade, if ever. I made a very few minor changes, and I doubled the amount of sauce because I always double the sauce. Wait till we get to the Swedish meatballs tomorrow.

Chicken in Tarragon and Tomato Cream Sauce

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil (if you have garlic infused, use it)
12 chicken thighs, bone-in
kosher salt
ground black pepper
1 cup chopped shallots
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
1 cup white wine (I used a semi-sweet)
1-28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
ground white pepper
2 cans Campbell's cream of chicken soup
1 cup heavy cream

I used a rectangular electric frying pan, which let me cook all twelve pieces of chicken at the same time. Or you can use a large, deep skillet and cook the chicken in two batches.

Season the chicken with a generous amount of salt and pepper on both sides. If you have time, put the chicken back in the refrigerator, uncovered for an hour or two.

Heat the butter and oil over medium high heat. Place the chicken in the hot pan, skin side down, and brown the chicken, about 15 minutes on each side. Take your time with this. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.  With a large metal spoon, remove any solids in the pan, and all but 4 tablespoons of the fat.  Reserve some of the fat, in case you have to add back a little, mushrooms being notorious fat suckers.  

Add the shallots and sauté for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook until the shallots are soft and the mushrooms begin to turn golden. Add the wine and bring the sauce to a boil. Add the tomatoes and tarragon, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon.  Cook until the sauce begins to reduce. Stir in the soup and the heavy cream, and bring to a simmer. Taste and re-season. 

Return the chicken to the pan and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked all the way through, about 15 to 20 minutes. 

By the way, I can already tell you that Something Bad has happened to my back. My feet are up and the Advil are flowing. So much for my new project. Crap. This is some of the worst lower back pain I've ever had. Ever.

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