Daniel Boulud's Poulet à l'Estragon

Billed as his definitive cookbook, Chef Daniel Boulud's latest title offers more than 75 recipes from the culinary heavyweight's beloved and best-known restaurant, DANIEL, in New York, as well as a dozen from nights when he kicks back at home and whips up Poulet à l'Estragon ("Tarragon Chicken") with rice pilaf for family and friends. The book is garnished with a handful of Boulud's musings on everything from truffles to cheese, but errs on the side of straightforward recipes anyone can follow.

Poulet à l'Estragon
(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients
• Salt
• 15 golf ball-size tomatoes
• 1 tbsp butter
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 (2- to 3-lb) farm-raised chickens, each cut into 8 pieces
• Freshly ground white pepper
• 4 large shallots, sliced
• 10 oz pearl onions
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 3 tbsp flour
• 1/2 cup tarragon vinegar
• 2 cups chicken stock
• 1/2 bunch tarragon

Rice Pilaf

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 shallot, minced
• 2 tbsp butter
• 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 sprigs thyme
• 2 sprigs tarragon

Directions for Poulet à l'Estragon
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set a bowl of ice water on the side. Score an X on the bottoms of the tomatoes. Boil them for 5 seconds, or until the skins loosen on the bottoms. Strain and peel under cold running water; set aside. In a 5-quart braising pan over medium high heat, melt the butter with the oil. Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan skin side down and sear until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a platter, set aside, and strain all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots and onions to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft. Add the tomato paste and flour and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the vinegar, bring to a simmer, then stir in the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan with half of the tomatoes and the tarragon. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining tomatoes, cover, and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. 

Directions for Rice Pilaf
Rinse the rice with cold water until it runs clear. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the butter, chicken stock, salt, bay leaf, thyme, and tarragon and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook undisturbed over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.

Poulet à L'Estragon recipe from 'Daniel: My French Cuisine.' Copyright (c) 2013 by Daniel Boulud, Ltd. Used with permission by Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved. Photographs by Thomas Schauer. [Grand Central Life & Style, October 15, 2013; $50]