California Poppies & Tarragon Chicken

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Deadly poppies

Tiny pink flowers mixed in with the poppies are red-stemmed filaree.

On St Patrick’s Day we drove from Lake Arrowhead to the poppy reserve near Lancaster, CA. We left at 7am and arrived at 9am just as the poppies began to open.  There were wide swaths of yellow Goldfields, Fiddlenecks, and Narrow Keelfruit,  blue Lacy Phacelia, Blue Dicks, and pink Red-Stemmed Filaree. It was glorious. We had two weeks with wonky wifi and spotty cell phone coverage, and yet we did manage to hear about plenty of  terrible things this administration has done.  The nice thing was that the weather was warm, the sun was out, so we spent time outside doing things and not hunched over the computer worrying about what was next.

(more photos below the recipe)


Today things seemed to be coming to a head with  more people on the right became uncomfortable with Trump’s nonsense, not to mention that it’s becoming clear that the Russians stole the election for Trump. Paul Manafort making $10 million a year to influence politics in the US for Russian gain? Nunes claims he’s never heard of Roger Stone or Carter Page until now, when I knew who they were before the election. Nunes, chair of the Intelligence Committee, ran to Trump to tell him that he may have been surveilled during phone calls with foreign parties; he did not tell the rest of his committee and they are furious. Not only is this a breach of the separation of powers but Nunes now risks having to testify before his own committee, and this is proof that we need an independent investigation.

There are dark comments being made by people who have met with Comey that Trump will soon be gone, but Pence needs to be gone as well. This was a stolen election, stolen by the Russians for the purpose of destroying the US.

And today the cretins voted to allow wolves and bears and their cubs to be shot in their dens as well as from helicopters. The vote was split along party lines. Monsters, all of them.

On that note, this is what we had for supper tonight:

Laura Calder’s Chicken Tarragon

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 chicken (about 3 pounds/1.4 kg), cut into 8 pieces

Salt and pepper

½ cup chicken stock

¾ cup dry white wine

1 shallot, minced

1 cup crème fraîche

½ cup chopped fresh tarragon (I don’t like tarragon much so I substituted thyme)

Lemon juice to taste

1. Melt the butter with the oil in a large skillet over quite high heat. Season the chicken pieces and fry in batches until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Put all the chicken back in the pan, add chicken stock and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm and reduce any leftover juices until sticky. Add the shallot and wine and reduce to a thickish sauce, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and half the tarragon. Boil down again to sauce consistency, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Put back the chicken pieces, turning to coat, then transfer to a platter. Pour the sauce over, scatter over the remaining tarragon, and serve.

Note: I made it with just chicken thighs tonight and it was fabulous.  It looks like a lot of work but it’s really not. I didn’t have any stock handy so I used half a bouillon cube to make one cup of bouillon, and I used the whole cup because I had it. It was fine and made the sauce lovely and rich.

Tarragon tastes like licorice and I don’t much care for it but I know other people do, so if you like chicken to taste like licorice go ahead and use it. Otherwise you can substitute another herb such as thyme or oregano or marjoram.

We had the chicken with French bread and a butter lettuce salad. There were two peanutbutter cookies left after the 1100 mile drive home so we shared those for dessert.

More Flowers

filaree and keelfruit

Above: Red-stemmed filaree (pink) and slender keelfruit (yellow)

blue dicks

Above: Blue dicks and poppies

blue phacelia

Lacy phacelia (blue) with California poppies.

filaree fiddlenecks and poppies

Blue dicks and yellow fiddlenecks


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