Chicken and tarragon casserole

Ingredients to serve 4-6

6–8 chicken thighs, depending on their size
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
750ml chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 small bunch of fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into squares
1 small cabbage, trimmed and cut into quarters through the root
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tarragon is a perfect foil for chicken, adding sweetness and bags of flavour. No wonder it's such a classic combination. Here, we've used it to add a big herby accent to a one-pot supper. Bundle everything in, pop to the pub or the gym for an hour, then come home to dinner.

Heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Trim any excess fat off the chicken thighs. In a heavy-based casserole, heat the olive oil on a medium heat. Brown the chicken thighs in batches on both sides, then remove and set aside.

Now turn down the heat and cook the onion, celery and carrot until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes before adding a dash of the stock. As it bubbles up, scrape up any sticky cooking residues off the bottom of the casserole. Return the chicken to the pan, along with the herbs, red pepper and cabbage.

Pour in enough stock to cover the chicken, season with salt and pepper, then put the lid on the casserole and bake in the oven for about an hour.

Take the casserole out of the oven and place it on the hob. Remove the chicken, the cabbage and the red peppers to a plate and reduce the cooking liquor by half, boiling hard for about 3–4 minutes. Then turn down the heat and stir in the crème fraîche and the mustard.

Finally, whizz the sauce with a wand blender for an extra silky finish. Taste and season if necessary. Return the chicken, cabbage and peppers to the pan to coat them with the sauce and serve at once.

Taken from 'Leon Family & Friends Book 4' by Kay Plunkett-Hogge & John Vincent (Conran Octopus, £25).

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