Sage Chicken with Leeks and Asparagus.
I never know whether to stand with pride or fall with shame when it comes to my recipe inspirations. While structurally I’m very good in a Kitchen and always am aware of the guidelines to get to where I need to be, when it comes to actually remaining faithful to a traditional recipe, I fall short. I have expressed numerous times that where I start on a recipe is not always where I end up and this recipe here is the birth child of such a mishap. And quite a tasty mishap it is too.
The recipe came as a mutilation of a classic Tarragon Chicken I was testing for a writing project for a media publication. I had everything I needed to make a delicious Tarragon Chicken except one ingredient – tarragon. It was an absent minded moment in the shop that I can’t punish myself too much for, however I had a night of recipe testing ahead of me and needed to produce something as my then partner was getting increasingly hungry. I was even hungrier, but that’s neither here nor there. So an impulse dash around my fridge led me here.
Please think of this recipe as some kind of tarragon-chicken-asparagus-come-braised-leeks-in-wine hybrid that I can’t really explain and struggled to name, if I’m honest but I cannot emphasis enough how delicious it was. Usually when a recipe just doesn’t sit well with me or I struggle to root it to any logic of substantial worth, I scrap it. But I couldn’t let this one go. Albeit I didn’t submit it to the publication (hence freedom to publish it here!), this recipe was so layered in flavour and so interesting in texture that it has since been repeated, therefore I present it to you in its original form. No tweaks – this was exactly how it was cooked that night and I can’t recommend it enough.
Heat a little butter and olive oil in a cast iron pan with a tight fitting lid. Add the leek, which has been chopped into pound coin slices, with some sea salt and cook until they soften and slightly unravel before grating in a little garlic clove and stirring. Add some dried sage and continue stirring. Drop to a medium heat and push the leeks to the sides of the pan creating a well and place the chicken breast down on to the hot surface. Cook for roughly 5 minutes and be mindful the leeks and garlic do not burn on the outskirts.
Turn the breast over on to the other side so that it has a chance to cook all the way through before adding a full shot glass of white wine to the pan. Be careful of the sizzle. Now add a small cup of weak vegetable or chicken stock and bring to a bubble before dropping to a simmer. Add the asparagus to the pan before clamping on a lid and allowing to steam in the pan for roughly 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and add some chopped fresh sage to the pan before checking the chicken has cooked all the way through (either a thermometer or piercing the breast so that the juices run clear). Serve with some good crusty bread and even some boiled or mashed potatoes to sop up the leeky wine juices.
Again, admittedly this recipe is the product of a recipe I failed to complete due to absent minded moments in a supermarket but often times, we find food in a hopeless place. Just when I thought I would go hungry because I didn’t have tarragon, a quick rethink and some brave instincts in the Kitchen can lead to some very tasty and popular dishes. This is one of those recipes I want my future kids to hate because they’ve eaten it so often, which just gives me more frugal right to eat what they don’t.