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Creamy chicken with pancetta and peas

publication date: Aug 7, 2007
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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This is what used to be called a chicken fricassée - a simple dish of fried chicken in a light creamy sauce. Basically think of it as a stir fry - it takes a similar time.

Serves 2-3
Time: under 15 minutes
Cost: About £3.50 a head

1 tbsp olive oil
100g cubed pancetta (Italian bacon) or chopped, rinded streaky bacon
2 skinless, boneless free-range chicken breasts cut into fine slices
1 small onion (about 75g), peeled and very finely chopped
125ml full-bodied dry white wine e.g. chardonnay
150g frozen peas
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon or a level tsp of dried tarragon
100g (about 4 rounded tbsp) creme fraiche
Freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice to taste

Heat a large frying pan, add the oil and then the bacon. Fry for a couple of minutes till the fat starts to run then tip in the chicken strips and stir until they are lightly coloured. Add the onion, fry for a minute or two then pour in the wine and peas. Cook until the wine has reduced by about two thirds (about 6-7 minutes) then turn the heat right down and stir in the tarragon and creme fraiche. Heat through gently and season with freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice if you think it needs it (There should be enough salt from the bacon.) Serve with new potatoes or rice and a few microwaved or steamed asparagus tips if you're feeling particularly extravagant.

* Use bacon bits rather than pancetta
* Replace the chicken breasts with 3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (but increase the cooking time, slightly)
* Replace the wine with 125ml chicken or vegetable stock made with 1/3 of an organic stock cube or a level tsp of vegetable bouillon powder
* Use chopped parsley instead of tarragon (though the tarragon does make the dish)
* Use double cream instead of crème fraiche


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