Chicken with Tarragon and Mustard

Chicken with Tarragon and MustardJanuary, the good and the bad.
Well, we made it. We survived the holidays. Now it’s back to normal life—which is in some ways good and some ways bad.

I don’t think I could have kept up with the eating and drinking (at least not the way I was doing it), so to be back to normal is good. However, there is the post-holiday let down. The excitement, the parties and good cheer are gone. It’s just the daily routine. It’s kinda boring.

January can also be what I call the food doldrums. The cold winter months can be less than exciting ingredient wise. Sure there are plenty of good soups to battle the cold air and rain, but I get bored with that after a while. Yes, you can always throw together a roast dinner but again, meh. The produce offerings are tasty but limited. This is the time of year to get creative with your dried beans but even then, for me, there is just not that much excitement. On top of all that is the need to lighten things up and eat better…

January is definitely when my slow cooker gets the most use, mainly because I am worn out from all of the holiday cooking. So, I go looking for new ideas for the slow cooker. A few years ago I stumbled on a series of slow cooker cookbooks that are not the usual pot roast or pork shoulder. Each book is devoted to a particular cuisine. There is the French version, the Italian, the Mexican, Mediterranean and even the Indian.

I have tried recipes from them all, but I tend to reach for The French Slow Cooker the most. One of my favorite recipes is Chicken with Tarragon, Mustard and Cream because it’s uncomplicated and tres French. The original recipe calls for heavy cream (and it is good that way), but I usually lighten it up with 2% milk instead. And, just be aware that the sauce won’t be as rich, which is good…and bad.

Chicken with Tarragon and Mustard
Adapted from The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone
Serve 4 to 6

1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 to 12 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup milk (or cream if you want to go big)

Pour the broth into a large slow cooker, and add the vinegar.

Brush the chicken all over with the seasoned mustard, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken pieces in the slow cooker, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle the chicken with the garlic, parsley and tarragon.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a serving plate and cover to keep warm.

Strain the pan juices into a saucepan, and skim off excess fat. Bring the juices to a simmer over high heat. Stir in the milk and return to a simmer. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle it with the chopped fresh herbs, and serve hot with rice or noodles, and something green on the side.

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