Sunday, 15 June 2014

Tarragon & White Wine Sauce

So every now and then on this blog I feel an obligation to post something that's not chocolate-covered, triple-fried, and smothered in cheese. Not for the sake of my health, believe me - if that were the case I would have given up way before the bacon bomb meatloaf. No, it's because - despite what my blog might suggest - classical cooking styles and techniques have always been incredibly important to me. Everyone who taught me to cook, be it my parents or the chefs I was lucky enough to work under (be sworn at/have knives thrown at me by), did so with traditional methods and dishes. Because of this I've always respected and have tried to draw inspiration from these recipes, even if that does sometimes mean wrapping them in bacon and deep-frying the life out of them.
I was recently surprised with a wicked-awesome gift from a friend at Frontera Wines (click here to check out their site - it's pretty damn sweet). A couple of bottle of wines on the proviso that I use them in some of my recipes...not a bad trade if you ask me!
Still trying to make my mind up what to do with the merlot - I've got a few ideas, though I'm open to suggestions! - but as it was Sunday and I had a hankering for roast chicken, I figured a classic white wine sauce would go down a treat. Plus, that would leave a few glasses left in the bottle for me and the wife to enjoy - and enjoy them she certainly did. (Every drunk wife joke I make on here probably edges me closer and closer to divorce...I'll learn one day, hopefully before it's too late.)
So this is super quick and easy (I know better than to make another joke about my wife here). Finely dice a white onion, add to a pan with a small knob of butter and fry over a medium heat until soft. 
When the onion is soft and translucent, add a whole chicken stock cube along with about 150ml of white wine - this is where the fantastic Frontera Pinot Grigio comes in. I'm not a big white wine drinker myself, but this was truly excellent, so much so that I had to pour myself a small glass to keep me company whilst I made my sauce. Produced by the highly-acclaimed Concha Y Toro, this wine was fruity and refreshing, with such a gentle crispness that I quite easily (and quite happily) could have seen off a bottle (or two) of the stuff with very little difficulty. Like a glass of Pimms or a G+T, this is a drink that demands to be taken outside and enjoyed on a picnic blanket in the sun.
Allow the wine to simmer for 10 minutes, then pour in 300ml double cream, a clove of minced garlic and a handful of chopped tarragon. Not normally one of my favourite herbs - sambuca aside, I try to avoid aniseed at all costs - against the richness of the cream and the wine, the aromatic tarragon works brilliantly in this sauce. Season with a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper.
Give it a good stir, and you're ready to serve. I poured this over roast chicken, but this is a versatile sauce that will go great with most fish dishes, or even over pork chops. You could even use any leftovers on roast vegetables, or to make the most incredible potato gratin. Enjoy! I know I did.

1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
150ml good quality white wine, like Frontera Pinot Grigio
300ml double cream
handful chopped tarragon
salt & pepper



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