1 Chicken, 2 Ways - Slow Cooked with Cider and Tarragon (Part 1)

Rule 1: Never buy an unhappy chicken.  Rule 2: Never waste leftovers.  The second of these two recipes uses the leftovers from the first to make a delicious soup.

Chickens are such useful creatures and funny too. I like them to look at, to eat and I like eggs. My neighbour has a small flock which regularly escape into my garden and peck around looking lost. 'Encouraging' them back home is hilarious.  Wafting, rather than flapping, an apron at them is quite helpful.

I like their funny little grumbly noises as they noodle about looking for tasty bits in the grass and under the trees. Theirs is a simple, happy life.  They taste better because they eat bugs and stuff.  Buy that kind of chicken. 

Because I like chickens so much, I have rules (see above).  Here's two ways of sticking to those rules.

Slow Cooked Chicken with Lemon, Cider and Tarragon

Slow Cooked Chicken with Lemon, Cider and Tarragon


  • 1.5kg whole chicken (do NOT wash the chicken)
  • 6 banana shallots, halved
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 4 tsps Dijon mustard
  • 3 tsps caster sugar
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 3 carrots, cut into large pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • A few stems of tarragon (tarragon is a very strong flavour, so don't overdo it)
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and thoroughly brown the chicken. Remember, it won't pick up any colour in your slow cooker so this is important for the final appearance.
  2. Lightly caramelise your onion pieces in the same pan.
  3. Put your chicken and carrots into your slow cooker.  
  4. Add the mustard, sugar and cider to the onions in the pan and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the chicken stock, lemon wedges and tarragon stems to the pan. Stir.
  6. Pour the hot mixture around the chicken.
  7. Cover and cook on high in your slow cooker for 5 hours. If you don't have a slow cooker, use a covered casserole dish in the oven at 140°C for 5 hours.
  8. To make 'Health & Safety' happy, check the juices run clear from the chicken when pierced with a knife.
  9. Place the chicken onto a serving plate and surround with vegetables.
  10. Put a few ladles full of the cooking juice into a pan and keep warm - this is your gravy.
  11. If you want to add creme fraiche, its best to whisk this with a few spoons of the juice in a separate bowl to make sure it combines otherwise you can end up with nasty looking lumps floating in your cider gravy.  Add this mixture back into your gravy.
  12. Season to taste.  For this recipe, think about seasoning with sugar as well as salt and pepper.
  13. Carve your chicken as usual.  Serve with the lemon-cider gravy and vegetables.

Prep time: 20 minutes.  Cooking time 5 hours.

Do not throw away any bones, skins or leftover meat; in fact try and leave a bit on there.

You need the carcass and bits for Part 2.






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