Monday, March 25, 2013

Chicken with Sherry Vinegar and Tarragon Sauce (Delia Smith)

It was a nice and mild weekend evening when I was serving this beautiful chicken dish with a nice and easy potato salad.

The wonderful combination of chicken cooked with sherry, sherry vinegar and tarragon is simply superb creating very nice flavours. With no doubt, we finished all of this dish with great satisfaction.
The potato salad with this vinaigrette dressing is fantastic as well and complement well with these chicken. I would assume that everything seems nice and ok for this dinner but unfortunately, not so as we can't think unanimously well of this potato salad... Apparently, the subtle fume from the shallots in salad has made my son a winch at the begining of the dinner. After his first taste of the potato salad, my son just refused to have another bite subsequently... *sign*

Boy: Mum, I don't like potato anymore...

Mum: Ok! For you, I will remember not to add shallots into our potato salad anymore...

Boy: I will not eat any potato salad anymore...

Dad: Chips are made of potato and maybe you should not eat chips anymore...

Boy: D'Oh

chicken sherry vinegar tarragon sauce Delia Smith
Chicken with Sherry Vinegar and Tarragon Sauce
The beautiful ingredients for this dish
Cooking the chicken dish...
We are getting there. Giving this dish a final touch...
Ready! Now I need a good potato salad to compliment this.
Making the vinaigrette for the potato salad
potato salad Delia Smith
Only for adults - Nice potato salad served with shallots and vinaigrette
Here are the recipes from Delia Smith
(with my modification in blue)

Chicken with Sherry Vinegar and Tarragon Sauce

1.75 kg chicken, jointed into 8 pieces, or 4 bone-in chicken breast portions

(I have used 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, about 1.3 kg in total)
5 fl oz (150 ml) sherry vinegar
2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
12 shallots, peeled and left whole
4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
15 fl oz (425 ml) medium-dry Amontillado sherry

(I used a medium range Australian mild sherry - cooking sherry doesn't have to be expensive)
1 heaped tbsp crème fraîche
salt and freshly milled black pepper
To garnish: 8 small sprigs of fresh tarragon


First of all, heat the oil in the frying pan and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Then, when the oil begins to shimmer, fry the chicken (in two batches) to brown well: remove the first batch to a plate while you tackle the second. Each piece needs to be a lovely golden-brown colour. When the second batch is ready, remove it to the plate to join the rest. Then add the shallots to the pan, brown these a little, and finally add the garlic cloves to colour slightly.

Now turn the heat down, return the chicken pieces to the pan, scatter the tarragon leaves all over, then pour in the vinegar and sherry. Let it all simmer for a bit, then turn the heat to a very low setting, so that the whole thing barely bubbles, for 45 min (I did mine for 50 min). Halfway through, turn the chicken pieces over to allow the other sides to sit in the sauce.

When they're ready, remove them to a warm serving dish (right side up) along with the shallots and garlic. The sauce will by now have reduced and concentrated, so all you do is whisk the crème fraîche into it, taste it and season as required, then pour the sauce all over the chicken and scatter with the sprigs of tarragon.

This is lovely served with tiny new potatoes tossed in herbs and some fresh shelled peas.

Potato Salad with Shallots and Vinaigrette


2 lb (900 g) Anya or other new potatoes, washed
(I used 1 kg baby cream delight potatoes)
6 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
4 tbsp freshly snipped chives

For the vinaigrette

1 rounded dessertspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 rounded dessertspoon mustard powder

(I used 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
5 fl oz (150 ml) extra virgin olive oil
freshly milled black pepper

Steam the potatoes over a pan of boiling, salted water, covered with a lid, for about 20 min until they are tender.

Instead of steaming, I boiled my potatoes. Place potatoes in medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to boil at high heat. Reduce to medium and simmer uncovered for 15-20 min or until tender. Remove from heat, drain off the water and set aside for 10 min.

Meanwhile, make up the dressing. Begin by crushing the salt quite coarsely with a pestle and mortar, and then add the garlic. As you crush it and it comes into contact with the salt, it will quickly break down into a puree.

Next, add the mustard and really work it in, giving it about 20 sec of circular movements to get it well blended. After that, add some freshly milled black pepper.

Now add the vinegars and work these in in the same way. Then add the oil, switch to a small whisk and give everything a really good whisking. (I whisked mine briefly with a fork)

As soon as the potatoes are cooked, cool them in a mixing bowl for 10 min, then stir in the vinaigrette and shallots while the potatoes are still just warm.
Now add the chives and give everything a good toss to distribute any dressing collected in the base of the bowl and transfer the salad to a serving bowl.

Note: The amount of the above two recipes are very generous portions for 3-4 adults. Knowing this, I have saved an extra portion for my husband's next day lunch.

Happy Cooking
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  1. Both the chicken and the potato salad look delicious- such wonderful flavors! My children didn't particularly like shallots either. :)

  2. Hi Zoe,
    This looks really a flavourful and tasty chicken dish! I love the whole shallots in this dish as well and everything about it.

  3. Looks so mouth watering. Chicken and Tarrgon goes so well together.

  4. I will take your son's helping of potato!

  5. Oooh I saw Wendy cooking a very similar dish, I was drooling over there and now yours! Yum!

  6. Zoe, chicken dish, 2 thumbs up as I loveeee chicken so much, haha! You are so westernise, you cook this dish with chicken breast. At home, only my hubby likes to eat the breast, we all want the thigh & drumsticks, haha!

    1. Hi Jessie,

      We are the chicken breast-eating family. Only my son SOMETIMES eats chicken thighs :p


  7. Such delicious meal Zoe! In a few years, I'm very sure your growing son will completely change his mind on potato salad and on all of his mum's meticulously prepared meals:)

  8. What a juicy pot of chicken! Love the herbs with sherry!

  9. Oh, how I will love to dig into this chicken and potato salad!! Super scrumptious. Maybe the little one will start having some after the chips enlightenment:):)

  10. Hey Zoe, your boy is so cute.. so is he still eating potatos since he likes potato chips? you know, with so many of delia smith's recipes that you, joyce and lena are trying, I don't need to buy the book. I can just copy from you this really looks so tempting and so tasty.

  11. Did you end up forcing him to have the salad anyway?? Your son must have had too much good food from you- the salad sounds amazing!

    1. Hi Von,

      No, we didn't. Good that he likes and ate the chicken.


  12. Oh no, too bad your son didn't like the potato salad. But you know kids, next week they might love it again, they're ever changing. :P

  13. I love everything in this dish , Zoe ! Wonderful flavor of both the chicken and the salad . Throw your boy's portion over here :D

  14. This sounds absolutely delicious, Zoe. I hv always wanted to try taragon w chicken, will try this one of the weekend soon. Pity ur boy didnt like d salad, it sounds yummy!

  15. Looks like a flavourful and comforting dish!!

  16. Hi Zoe,
    That is one delicious meal! I don't mind having your son's share of the potato salad! I was looking at some recipes and am wondering on sherry vinegar and now I have seen you using it! Your chicken looks so flavourful and yummy!

  17. This is elegant comfort food - what a great dish!

  18. Wow Zoe, what a delicious and flavorful meal...the chicken looks absolutely awesome paired with the potatoes...yum!
    Have a great week :)

  19. This meal looks utterly brilliant :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  20. Amazing as always! :) Ohh they look delish! How I wish I can go back home from my campus and spend my time in the kitchen again. My blog seems dusty since my last post hahaha :D

  21. HI Zoe! Like Adora's, this is another perfect dish for Sunday lunch!

    So did your boy give up his chips? :D

  22. Such a delicious and comfort food Zoe!

  23. this looks delicious..i shld now learn more western cooking from you! your husband is really smart to say that to your son! LOL! i do believe the potato salad is very nice too :)

  24. That sounds like one delicious sauce!

  25. I love to cook with sherry and creme fraiche so this sounds wonderful. It seems that children are the same all over the world :-)

  26. Hi Zoe,
    This is so tempting!!
    Love the potato salad and love the chicken
    Like your country road tea towel too..:D