This dish is a variation on Coq au Vin, which is such a classic that it can be found in almost every brasserie in every region of France. The difference between one Coq au Vin and another is very subtle: the wine used will most likely be one from that region, and some cooks use more heavily smoked bacon than others. But, it is generally agreed that you can’t improve on perfection, so no one tries. Coq au vin has mushrooms in it and silverskin onions rather than shallots, so my dish is called a casserole, not a coq au vin.
Sprinkle the flour into a flat dish, season with salt and pepper and toss the chicken through the flour until it is lightly coated, then set aside. (The flour will help the sauce thicken while it’s cooking.) Heat the oil in a cast iron or heavy-based casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the shallot, pancetta, carrots and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured, then remove from the pan and set aside.
Put the chicken in the casserole dish and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning as necessary, until it has an even colour all around. Add the wine and cook for 10–12 minutes or until reduced by half. Add the stock and the shallot mixture and bring to the boil over a high heat. Skim the surface to remove any fat, then reduce the heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the casserole dish and set aside. Heat the cooking liquid, uncovered, over a medium heat for about 12–15 minutes until it reduces and turns into a lovely, light shiny syrup. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted and combined. Put the chicken back in the dish and add the tarragon, keeping aside a few sprigs to sprinkle on top. Serve immediately with fresh tagliatelle, if liked.
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