Unabashedly French, quick sautes are surprisingly not-so-common these days. Which is a shame, because they are deliciously quick and simple. Brown meat, splash with a little liquid — usually wine or stock, plus herbs — cover and cook, et voila. One of my first jobs working with famed food writer James Beard in New York, was to revise and edit his classic “Fowl and Game Bird Cookery”. Today, I went back to his recipes for inspiration.
Lightly season chicken pieces, here sectioned wings. Reportedly Lord Byron’s favorite chicken cut, they are both economically cheap and particularly moist and tasty. Heat clarified butter, or a blend of butter and oil, and sear the chicken on all sides. Drain oil, add 1/4 cup/60 ml stock to the pan, plus fresh thyme and tarragon sprigs. Cover and cook over moderate heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken pieces to a warm platter, and deglaze pan with wine or fresh lemon juice. Scrape pan to loosen the tasty bits, and reduce liquid to a glaze consistency by boiling over medium heat. Pour over chicken and serve.