I think I have declared my love for all things creamy before. If you haven’t read that post, and if it hasn’t been evident from the excess of creamy recipes that I share, check out this creamy prawn pasta, mushroom and ricotta ravioli, Gratin Dauphinoise, seafood fettucini, mushroom in cream sauce and well, the list goes on.
Theses, assignments and anything academic has a way of inspiring me the best – in everything other than academic stuff. On this particular day I have been up for more than 24 hours straight, pumped full of chocolate, coffee and tea and I was still typing away at this thesis of mine. After it began feeling like instead of eyelids I have concrete beams above my eyes which are getting harder and harder to keep up, I finally decided to get some sleep.
It was after a nap of about 4 hours I woke up craving for this dish. In my sleep I had somehow put together the flavours and I woke up craving for the taste of succulent chicken bathed in creamy, tarragon scented saffron gravy.
Since then, this dish has become a personal favorite of mine. The combination of chicken and cream, while not being the best heart solution there is, is absolutely riotous on the tongue. Add to that some tarragon and a pinch of saffron and you’ve got yourself a chicken dish so good that you will be licking the pan!
- Chicken thighs - 6 pieces, skinless
- Fresh cream - 250ml
- Leeks - 100g, chopped
- Onion - 1, large, chopped to slivers
- Garlic - 2 tsps, mashed
- Chili flakes - ½ tsp
- Tarragon - ½ tsp
- Saffron - A pinch
- Salt - To taste
- Oil - To fry
- With a mallet (if you have one) or a rolling pin, pound the chicken thighs until the flesh loosens. Coat them with some salt and pepper and keep aside to marinade.
- Heat a nonstick pan with some oil. Brown the chicken things on both sides until firm and golden. Take out of pan.
- To the same pan, add the mashed garlic. Once it browns, add the onion. Sautee till translucent.
- Add the leeks. Sautee till limp and fragrant.
- Add to this the chicken. Sautee for about 2 minutes.
- Add the cream. Mix well until it coats everything. Sprinkle the saffron, the tarragon and the chili flakes on top. Mix well.
- Simmer on low heat until the gravy thickens slightly. Add salt to taste.
- Serve warm.
I served this with this simple noodle dish which took no effort at all. Since the flavours in the chicken are so vibrant and multilayered, it is best served with the cleanest flavoured accompaniment to truly taste the dish. And trust me, you WILL want to taste this.
Tender succulent chicken almost melting in the mouth coated with a velvety cloak perfumed with the evening sunset studded with bombs of flavour – that is what this feels like. The gravy thick and creamy and fragranced with the delicate bounty of tarragon simply flows like the full cascading skirts of an elegant dancer pirouetting her way around the hall. All this sumptuousness is pierced in places with the piquant chili, like the star-like brilliance studding the fabric and leaves fiery kisses upon the tongue. And then the saffron unfurls its robes upon your taste buds. Let it entrance you with its exotic charm while it twirls and glides, hand in hand with the gentle smokiness of tarragon infusing and merging, touching distancing, entrancing you with its suppleness, its dexterity. There is fiery passion underneath all that soft comfort, there is a wealth of substance – so let yourself go, let yourself drown in the thicket of this mellow jungle and emerge a very happy person, newly born.
If you want a tasty and wholesome meal but you don’t have the time to slave away in the kitchen, this is definitely your friend. However, be warned. The addition of cream makes it not as healthy as you would like, so make it into a special occasion maybe?
- Pounding the chicken make it soft and supple. Of course you can skip this step for a firmer fleshed dish.
- When marinating the chicken, I sometimes use a bit of garlic as well. I did not use this in this recipe because – well, because I was lazy.
- You can also substitute the fresh cream with coconut milk. Of course it wouldn’t get as creamy but it would get that toasted coconut flavour which would sort of overpower the tarragon. And I don’t want the tarragon overpowered.