Today's Cook the Book recipe is one that the late James Beard, "the dean of American gastronomy," describes as "one of the greatest—and simplest—chicken dishes" that he knew. "The whole process," he wrote, "takes less than 30 minutes, and you have a dish you could serve to the most critical group of food buffs." Coming from Beard, who moved among the most picky food folks of the time, that's a ringing endorsement. All you need to round out the plate is a salad or vegetable and a simple fruit dessert.
As with all the Cook the Book entries this week, this recipe comes from
- 2 broiling chickens, cut into quarters
- 4 ounces butter
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 8 to 10 finely chopped shallots, or 10 to 12 green onions
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, or 2 tablespoons dried tarragon
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
Melt the butter with the oil in a large heavy skillet with a cover. When quite hot, add the chicken pieces and brown them skin side down first, then turn and brown the other side. This will take about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper them well.
Add the shallots or green onions. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer very, very slowly for 15 to 18 minutes, 20 minutes if the chickens are on the large side.
Remove the cover, increase the heat slightly, and add the dry white wine with the chopped fresh tarragon or dried tarragon, and the chopped parsley. Turn the chicken pieces again, cook briskly for 3 or 4 minutes, turning once, and serve on a hot platter with some crisp toast as garnish and, if you like, tiny new potatoes.