On Mondays, we go to the fresh market of Mirepoix where we have a number of trusted suppliers, like the refrigerated van of Guillemot for meat and the Zengarli family for vegetables.
The Guillemot farm lies in the mountains beyond Foix and is run by a Dutchman, Hugo De Jonge Van Ellemeet, and his French partner Annie who visits the markets. They raise cows, lam ban chicken. There chickens are real free-range animals with sturdy legs and they are slaughtered much later than the battery chickens that have hardly left the chick stage.
We bought, among other things, two legs of some 300 grams each.
At the vegetable stand there were fresh herbs and I bought a bunch of tarragon, not realising at that moment that we have our own tarragon in the garden…
I mulled the idea of making a Béarnaise sauce as that goes well with chicken and uses tarragon. But because of the butter and cream, plus gherkin, chervil and eggs that goes into the preparation, I decided against making such a heavy mayonnaise-like sauce.
Instead, I braised the legs, added white wine and tarragon and later also chicken stock.
Ingredients (for two)
Two chicken legs
A bunch of tarragon
A large glass of white wine
Three cups of chicken stock (fond de volaille, either home-made, cube or powder)
Four table spoons of cream
20 grams of butter
Melt the butter in a skillet with a rim (and lid), add the legs and cook at moderate heat for five minutes, turn the legs and cook for five more minutes.
Add one or two whole washed branches of tarragon and white wine. Let it bubble up. Then add the stock.
Lower the heat, put the lid on the pan and cook for 20 minutes, then turn and cook for another 20 minutes. (With smaller legs or a different quality of meat the cooking times can be reduced, test with a fork whether the meat is done)
Take out the legs and put them on a dish and cover with aluminium foil.
Turn up the heat under the skillet, lid removed and reduce the cooking sauce by half or more – you only need about a cup of sauce.
Pass the sauce through a sieve into a bowl, to remove the tarragon and any other fatty or bony bits, and mix in the cream with a whisk. Taste for any salt or pepper; I used stock powder that already contained salt so I did not add a thing.
Pour the sauce over the legs and sprinkle with some tarragon leaves. Serve.