- 2tsp oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 250g (9oz) smoked bacon lardons
- 1 large, free-range organic chicken, around 1.8kg (4lb)
- large bunch fresh tarragon
- 500ml (18fl oz) dry English cider
- 3 to 4tbsp crème fraîche or double cream
- you will need:
- a lidded, heatproof, ovenproof casserole dish, large enough to fit the chicken in flat
In a large frying pan, heat the oil then cook the onion until softened. Remove and set aside then add the lardons and cook until browned and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Now brown the chicken in the bacon fat on all sides – a couple of large wooden spoons will help here to turn it. Preheat the oven to 150 C, 130 C fan, 300 F, gas 2.
Put the onion and lardons back into the casserole dish. Push a few whole sprigs of tarragon into the chicken cavity then place the chicken on to the bacon mix. Season and pour the cider around the chicken.
Bring to the boil on the hob then place in the oven and cook for 2 hours. Now remove the whole chicken from the pot – it will be tender, so use a fish slice or two to help. Leave it on a plate covered with foil while you make the sauce. Chop the remaining tarragon. Skim off any excess fat from the casserole then add the tarragon and cream. Bubble for a few minutes on the hob.
The easiest way to serve this is to pull the chicken off the bone (it will just fall away), then slice it. Pour the sauce over the chicken to serve. This dish is delicious accompanied with green beans and some steamed potatoes.