There is nothing as simple and obviously delicious as a recipe that calls for the following key ingredients: chicken, wine, and a fresh herb. Add some broth, butter and a few shallots and you are on your way to a very flavorful meal that’s great any time of the year.
I took a French Bistro cooking class in Portland, Oregon back in 1993 and the teacher/chef, worked at the Heathman Hotel, made a few recipes from a classic book on French Bistro Cooking that is an excellent source for such classic recipes. The following is not from the cookbook, but rather a modification from the course I took almost 20 years ago.
Bistro Chicken Tarragon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs., cut into pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter
2 bunches tarragon, leaves removed from stems, coarse chop
4 shallots, minced
In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Brush the pieces of chicken with the dijon mustard before placing in pan. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown and cook on both sides, about 10 minutes on each side. Adjust the heat, if necessary, to avoid burning the skin. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover loosely with foil. Pour off some of the excess oil.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the wine. Deglaze the pan by scraping any browned bits down from the sides and reduce the wine by about half. Add the shallots and cook for several minutes. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce by about half. Whisk in the butter. Return the chicken to the skillet and coat with the sauce. Cover and cook until chicken is warmed through, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the tarragon leaves and turn the chicken pieces to coat. Serve immediately.