one-pot chicken tarragon with a glass of wine

If you're lucky enough to be growing French tarragon right now, get to this. The sunny by day, chilly at night season is perfect for a pot roast, and if you can find French tarragon then find a chook as well. We've just moved and the garden is all seedlings and promises right now, but my parents grow an impressive bounty of tarragon, and it's not the Russian kind. 

What's the difference between French and Russian tarragon? 

I've read this: "Russian and French tarragons do look very similar, and it's not until they become mature that you can really tell the difference. Russian tarragon is taller than the French tarragon, and of course it self-seeds prolifically, while the French tarragon rarely sets seeds. And, with maturity, the Russian tarragon becomes virtually tasteless."

French is just a stunning, fresh flavour, it's aromatic without hitting you with aniseed. Does anyone have a better explanation? I'd love one. 

And then when you have found it, make this. I recommended this to a woman in my mother's group to make for friends who are popping over to her place for dinner. She has a new baby, she's just returned from Ireland on holiday, and she needs something easy to do. I say it's easy to throw a few ingredients in one pot and leave it 1.5 hours, then serve. I made this dish while the bub was having his morning snooze, then 2 hours before I served it for lunch today I popped it in the oven. It's new mum friendly. You can carve it in the pot as well, because it kind of falls of bone. Bring the pot to the table and let people help themselves. Or arrange the lot on a big platter. You can fold a generous knob of butter into the hot sauce before serving as well, it's worth it. 

I think it was Julia Child who said "I love cooking with wine, sometime I even put some in the food." I'm a kindred spirit, and love the sensible advice that for every one glass that goes in the dish, another should go into a glass for a cook. 

One-pot chicken tarragon

  • 1 organic or free-range chicken
  • 2 small brown onions (or 1 large), sliced
  • 2 bunches kale or cavelo nero, cut into large pieces
  • 3-4 sprigs French tarragon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1-2 glasses wine (how much sauce do you want?)
  • 1 bulb garlic, 2cm cut from top

Preheat oven to 160C. Season chicken with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper and bring to room temperature. Place onions and kale in a pot with a sealed lid (I use my 25cm Le Creuset oval casserole, which fits a whole chicken perfectly), then nestle chicken on the vegetables. Scatter over tarragon sprigs, squeeze lemon halves over chicken and stuff inside the bird, then add the wine. Add 1 to 2 cups depending on how much sauce you want. I use the latter. Wedge the garlic in with the bird. Cover with lid and cook 1.5 hours, until the leg bone easily comes away from the breast bone.