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Creamy Chicken Tarragon Casserole

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I have to say that I really love the flavour of tarragon combined with chicken.  Creamy Chicken Tarragon Casserole is one of my favourite ways to enjoy that lovely combo of tarragon and chicken, in a rich and creamy sauce. 
I wish so much that I could grow tarragon in my own garden and maybe next year I will have a place that I can actually do that.  I think it might work very well growing in a tub and I know that fresh herbs are very expensive and don’t last a wink before they are off and discoloured.
In the UK I had my own little kitchen herb garden right outside my back door. It was ever so nice to be able to pop out into the yard and clip off a bit of this or a bit of that when I needed it. I will never take that luxury for granted again! 
You can quite often grown a lot in a small space and then what you don’t use fresh can be dried for the Winter! My goal is to make that happen!

For today however, I had to make do with dried tarragon.  It works perfectly well and is more than adequate! 
If you are lucky enough to have fresh tarragon available to you by all means use it!  Just remember that dried herbs have a much stronger flavour than fresh. Condensed as it were, so you will have to double the amount!

This recipe which I am showing you today for this lush bake was adapted  from a cookery book which I absolutely love.  It is entitled “Twice is nice” and was written by Edna K Damerall. 
I am the Queen of Leftovers. I don’t ever let anything go to waste if I can help it.  My mother always said  I could make an old boot taste delicious. I don’t know about that, but I take pride in the fact that my leftovers almost always taste like “new”-overs!

I suppose some might think that takes a certain amount of skill, and perhaps it does to a degree. Basically however, it is just a matter of being able to partner flavours and knowing what goes well with what! 
This recipe is one which is very similar to my Chicken Savoyarde recipe, which is a recipe I adapted from Tamsin Day Lewis.  The main difference is that this recipe I am sharing today is a heck of a lot simpler!  And if you know anything about me by now, I will choose simple over complicated every time!

I experienced more than a lot of complicated when it came to cooking when I was working and cooking at Brenchley Manor.  Everything I cooked there had to be fancy smancy. Simple just would not do.
I was quite happy to cook like that at the time. Getting to cook with the finest ingredients and the finest equipment in a beautiful environment.  But through experience I have come to realise that fancy is good on occasion, and for special occasions,  but for every day, simple is best!

I think I have also gotten a bit lazier as I have gotten older as well.  I am all for a simple life these days containing the least amount of complicated stuff possible.  That goes for the way I want to live my life in every way.
Decorating, furnishings, clothing and yes . . .  cooking. When I think about it actually losing almost all of my belongings was a blessing in many ways.  I can start over now and choose to really only have things in my life which bring me joy.

Back to this recipe. You will need cooked chicken for this. You can use leftover roasted chicken or poached chicken. I often poach chicken breasts to use in things and this is one of the ways that they work very well. 
Just pop some boneless skinless chicken breasts into a saucepan, cover them with stock or water as well as some seasoning, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and then cook at a low simmer for about 10 minutes.  Leave it then to cool in the liquid until you can easily handle it.

This handy method gives you perfectly cooked, moist and delicious chicken each and every time. You will find that it always come in handy for dishes like this one, casseroles sandwiches, salads, etc. 
And thats it for the chicken. You can of course use leftover roasted chicken breasts as well!

Once your chicken is cooked for this you only have to make a delicious sauce. Not hard to do at all. If you can make a cream sauce, you can make this sauce. 
This delicious sauce is a very simple and quick make.  Melted butter, flour, chicken stock, cream and some seasonings (cayenne, salt and dried tarragon).  Oh, and a bit of Dijon mustard and some Swiss type of cheese.

You can use swiss cheese, emmenthaler cheese, gruyere cheese or compte cheese. All are amazing and have sweet nutty flavours and really great melting properties.
They also go very well with the flavour of tarragon. The combination is very French I would have to say.

The sauce gets layered in the casserole dish with the cooked chicken and topped with buttered crumbs before baking to perfection.  The chicken heated through, the sauce bubbling aand creamy.
The crumbs crisp and golden brown.  Doesn’t that sound delicious?  It is. I promise you it is, it is, it is!

Creamy Chicken Tarragon Casserole

This is rich, creamy and delicious.  I can almost guarantee it is going to become a favourite. You can also very easily cut the recipe in half if you are only one or two. 
I served it simply with some boiled potatoes, peas and carrots!  It went down a real treat! A salad would also go well, as would some crusty French bread. Dangit!  I made myself hungry again! Oh well, when am I never hungry!

Creamy Tarragon Chicken Gratin

Creamy Tarragon Chicken Gratin

Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 15 Mincook time: 25 Mintotal time: 40 Min
Rich and delicious. Its a beautiful way to use leftover cooked chicken. In fact I often cook extra chicken just so I can make this. I like to serve it with boiled potatoes and some veg on the side.
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 4 TBS plain flour
  • 1 cup (240ml)chicken stock (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dry white wine
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup (120 to 180 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (30g)Swiss style cheese
  • 4 cooked chicken breasts
For the buttered bread crumbs:
  • 1/3 cup (40g) dry bread crumbs (I like panko)
  • 1 TBS melted butter
  1. First make the sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook for about 1 minute to cook out the flour taste.
  2. Mix together the chicken stock and white wine. Slowlywhisk into the roux of butter and flour. Cook stirring constantly until
  3. the mixture bubbles and thickens.
  4. Cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should be really thick.
  5. Whisk in the cream to thin it a bit. You should have a mixture that runs sluggishly off the spoon.
  6. Whisk in the mustard, salt, cayenne and cheese. Stir to combine and melt the cheese.
  7. Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 6. Butter a shallow casserole dish. Spoon in about 1/2 of the sauce and spread it out.
  8. Slice the chicken breasts and lay over the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over top to cover the chicken.
  9. Mix the bread crumbs together with the melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over top.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the sauce has bubbled, the chicken is heated through and the crumbs are golden brown.
  10. Serve hot.
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Creamy Chicken Tarragon Casserole

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again! 

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