if you are an old reader, you know that i had a short stint at cooking school, and that i wrote a mini-series about it. i haven’t finished (school and posts). i probably won’t because i like making a paycheck.
for the finals, Teacher leaves a paper with an ingredient list. she leaves three of these lists, a starter, a main, a dessert. you are suppose to use whatever techniques you have learned during the 20 week course to come up with the dish. you have to time yourself and have all three dishes ready to go by finish time.
the sheet goes like this:
BRAISED CHICKEN WITH TOMATOES, TARRAGON, AND LEEKS
1 large of 2 small tomatoes, or 1/2 cup canned
1 tablespoon tarragon
1 medium leek
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
and… go! easy peasy if you’ve been paying attention.
i can’t say much though, i got a 98/100 on that final. bad asian! why you no get 100?
anyhow, the dish was SO good that i made it at home that very day. and then husband liked it so much that it has been served at our dinner table on multiple occasions. i even made it for my parents once, and they had nothing but compliments on it.
to make this dish, you must first have your mise en place ready. cut leeks into little strips. use just the green parts and save the white parts for stock or something.
cut up your chicken and salt and pepper it. the above recipe makes 2 servings, so increase your amounts accordingly.
dun dun duuuuun.
get your pan/dutch oven/pot hot, and throw in your pat of butter. or olive oil. i use olive oil most of the time because i’m cal-med like that. olive oil rocks my world. ditch the canola, it tastes like plastic.
make sure to brown your chicken, both sides. pull it out.
then lower the heat and cook your leeks in chicken fat. you can cook it off until it’s clear, or you can go until it’s all caramelized. whatever you feel like. when it’s cold i tend to make it all nice and sweet and browned up, because it tastes fuller and heavier that way. spring time, i just sweat it because i don’t need the weight.
then take your cheapo white wine
and deglaze whatever remaining brown bits and sugar that might be sticking to the bottom of the pan.
place chicken pieces on top, throw in the canned tomatoes, and then cover it all up with chicken stock. bring to a boil, then braise low and slow for 30~40 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced and thick. for the final we used fancy san marzano tomatoes, but heinz does the job.
i don’t like using fresh tomatoes for this dish because fresh tomatoes suck if it’s not summer. and then when i have nice tomatoes i want to eat it raw with fresh mozzarella and expensive olive oil so it doesn’t work either way.
to finish, chop up some fresh tarragon… use only fresh. don’t even bother if you don’t have fresh.
sprinkle it in and turn off the heat. you don’t want to cook the tarragon, you want that I’M TARRAGON AND I’M GOING TO PUNCH YOU IN THA PALATE WITH MY LICORICENESS sensation there. nom with some crusty bread.
you will have lots of sauce left over. you can sop it up with bread. or you can give it a new life and puree it and use it as pizza sauce. goes great with supermarket ham and parmesan cheese.
thanks for reading!