Chicken in cider, garlic and tarragon sauce


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 part-boned chicken breasts
25g butter
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200ml medium sweet cider
200ml chicken stock
200ml double cream
4 tablespoons chopped tarragon

This dish is simplicity itself, but it's guaranteed to have everyone raving.

I always tend to go for part-boned chicken breasts as they seem to have more flavour and stay moister. Look out for them in supermarkets or ask your butcher for them in advance if it's not his usual thing.

If you're not planning on anything too OTT for your pudding, I'd be tempted to serve this chicken with buttery mash to soak up all that lovely sauce.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook over a medium-high heat until golden all over. Remove from the pan and set to one side for a moment.

Add the butter to the pan and heat until gently foaming. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until perfectly softened.

Add the cider, bring to the boil and scrape up any yummy bits from the base of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until cooked through. Place the chicken on a warm serving platter.

Add the cream to the pan and bubble rapidly until thickened. Stir in the tarragon and check the seasoning. Pour over the chicken and serve with steamed green beans.

Taken from 'The Weekend Cookbook' by Catherine Hill (Michael Joseph, £18.99).