This dish is double delicious because it is almost a soup starter and a main course in one big pot! The sliced onions are packed into a braising dish with a bunch of tarragon and a chicken sitting on top. As the bird roasts, its juices flavour the onions. Add chicken stock, and you get the consistency of a rich broth or liquor. It’s up to you how much stock you add.
Ingredients: 1oz (25g) butter; 6-8 onions, halved and sliced; salt and black pepper; 1 garlic clove, crushed, optional; 1 bunch of tarragon; 1 x 3 ½ – 4 lb (1.5 – 1.75kg) chicken; 10-15 fl loz (300-450ml) chicken stock; knob of butter, optional
- Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF, Gas Mark 6. Using a knob of the butter, grease a large, deep braising dish and three-quarters fill with the sliced onions. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Add the garlic clove, if you’re using it, and half the bunch of tarragon.
- Rub the skin of the chicken with the remaining butter. Sit the chicken on top of the onions and season with lots of salt and black pepper. Place the braising dish in the oven. The total cooking time will be between 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours.
- Halfway through the cooking time (about 40mins), add 10 fl oz (300ml) of the chicken stock. Add more stock if you prefer the liquor to have a thinner consistency and baste some of the liquor over the chicken. Return to the oven for the remaining cooking time.
- The onions should cook much quicker now and the liquor should resemble onion soup.
When the chicken is golden brown and tender, remove from the oven and check the seasoning and consistency of the liquor – 10 fl oz (300ml) will be enough to serve four. Remove the tarragon. Pick and chop the remaining half bunch, and add to the liquor. For a richer, finish, add the knob of butter to the liquor.
- Spoon liquor into large soup bowls, divide chicken into portions and sit them on top. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the liquor.