The meat we eat most often here is chicken, which is probably already very obvious. And as I have said before I find it quite boring so I usually whack a load of huge flavours and spice on it to make it interesting. However, there is something very comforting about the subtle flavours of Chicken Chasseur served with a load of creamy mash that I just love.
Chicken Chasseur is a classic French dish. The name means “Hunters Chicken”. It is traditionally flavoured with mushrooms, tomatoes and tarragon. Italy has it’s own version, Chicken Cacciatore, which varies by having the addition of peppers or olives. I believe neither usually includes carrots but we always had them in ours when growing up so I add them.
This is one of the most popular meals in our house and it freezes very well so it’s an excellent one to stock up the freezer.
Useful tips & links:
- I have used chicken supremes to make this. This is simply the breasts with skin on and the upper wing bone left in. You can ask your butcher to do this for you or buy chicken breast portions and remove the ribs. Alternatively use chicken thighs or legs, or even portion a whole chicken into eighths.
- Use fresh tarragon to flavour this or if you don’t have fresh tarragon use thyme or extra parsley. James Martin says in his recipe in Home Comforts to avoid dried tarragon as it has a completely different flavour.
- I like to use fresh tomatoes in this but at the moment I find them to be rather anaemic and tasteless so I went with tinned. As such, the sauce is slightly more red in colour than it usually is but no less delicious. To prep the fresh tomatoes I blanch, peel and deseed them. This means putting them into a bowl of boiling water for a couple of minutes just to soften the skins. Then take them out and cut an ‘X’ shape through the skin in the bottom and peel away the skin. Cut them in half and scoop out the seeds before dicing what is left of the flesh.
- For another take on Chicken Chasseur have a look at I Love Cooking’s version.
- 4 chicken supremes
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 100g of streaky bacon sliced or smoked bacon lardons
- 1 large onion, peeled and very finely diced
- ½ of a stick of celery finely sliced
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 150g of mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
- 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
- 150ml of dry white wine
- 300ml of hot chicken stock
- 4 fresh tomatoes, (see useful tips) or 200g of tinned chopped tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- Fresh tarragon, use to taste ½ – 1 tablespoon of chopped leaves.
- 1 tablespoon of mushroom ketchup (optional)
- Fresh parsley
- First you need to brown the chicken to crisp up the skin and render down any excess fat. Heat a large dry shallow pan over a medium heat and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the chicken skin side down in the pan for about 10 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crispy and the fat has been rendered.
- Turn the chicken and cook the other side just to seal the meat. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Use the time that the chicken is cooking to prepare the vegetables.
- Pour off and discard most of the chicken fat from the pan, keeping about a tablespoon. Put the pan back on the heat and add the bacon pieces. Fry the bacon until crispy and then remove it with a slotted spoon.
- Reduce the heat and add the onion, celery and carrots to the chicken and bacon fat. Carefully sweat the veg over a low heat until the onions and celery are cooked without taking on any colour. The carrots will finish cooking in the sauce. Then add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for another minute.
- Turn up the heat and add the tomato purée. Stir it through the vegetables to coat them and cook the purée through. Add the wine and turn up the heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Scrape up any little bits stuck to the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula.
- When the wine has reduced by about half, add the hot chicken stock and either the diced fresh tomatoes or tinned tomatoes. Add the bay leaves, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Chop the fresh tarragon and add this with the mushroom ketchup if using it to the pan and taste the sauce for seasoning.
- Put the chicken and bacon back into the pan and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, legs or thighs will take longer to cook.
- Taste it again to see if it needs more salt or pepper and remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve with buttery mash or white crusty bread and sprinkle over some freshly chopped parsley.