Tarragon has a very special affinity with chicken. This spring/summer recipe is a new take on an old theme and is well loved by all. New potatoes are the only side needed.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Cut the lemon in half. Pare the zest and extract the juice from one half (reserving both the zest and the juice), and put the other half in the cavity of the chicken. Put the tarragon stalks inside the chicken with the lemon and salt and pepper.
Rub the surface of the chicken with the butter, salt, and pepper. Put it in a tight-fitting ovenproof pot, preferably clay, and scatter over the tarragon leaves and lemon zest. Pour on the cream and water, and put the lid on.
Put the chicken in the oven and let roast for 1 ¼ hours. The cooking time can vary, so keep an eye on it: when a thigh is easily pulled off, it is done.The sauce should be reduced to a thick glaze in the pot; if it has separated, take out the chicken and add a little cold water. Season with the reserved lemon juice and more salt and pepper.
While the chicken roasts, prepare the peas. Fry the bacon in a heavy-based skillet at a low heat so the fat runs off. Add the shallots and let fry slowly until soft and lightly golden. Pour in the cider and let reduce by half.
When the chicken is done, and while you are making the sauce, add the peas and lettuces to the bacon and shallots, put a lid on and leave the vegetables to heat through until the lettuces have wilted—this should take about ten minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the vegetables in the pan with the chicken, nicely carved, on top. The sauce should be served separately.