Turn the slow cooker on to low to pre-warm while gathering and preparing the ingredients. Rinse the chicken well under running cold water and pat dry using absorbent paper, especially the chicken cavity. Sift the flour over the top of the chicken and, if wished, tie the legs together so the chicken holds its shape.
If wishing to brown the chicken: Heat the butter in a heavy-based frying-pan and, when hot, carefully brown the chicken as well as possible on all sides.
Into the pre-warmed slow cooker put the chicken, butter, stock and bouquet garni and cover with the lid.
Cook on low for 5–7 hours or on high for 3–4 hours, or until the chicken is well cooked. Carefully lift the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.
Mix together the egg yolks, cream and cornflour to make a smooth paste and stir into the slow cooker with the cooking juices. Cover and cook on high for 20–30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Alternatively, cook the sauce in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
Tear or cut the chicken into large pieces and return to the slow cooker with the asparagus and tarragon or chervil and turn gently to coat in the hot sauce. Serve immediately with your favourite seasonal vegetables.
Mushroom: Slice 250 grams button mushrooms finely and cook in a generous knob of butter in a moderately hot frying-pan until soft and no moisture remains. Stir into the sauce with the egg yolks and cream.
Corn: Add one well-drained can of corn kernels with the egg yolks and cream and season with herbs such as chives or parsley.
Use 6 leg and thigh portions in place of a whole chicken.
Allyson Gofton’s tips:
When asparagus is out of season, use a well-drained can of asparagus or try a well-drained bottle of white asparagus.
Fricassées are traditionally quite rich. Try smooth and rich crème fraîche in place of standard cream for a sauce that is incredibly smooth, but with a tiny touch of sharpness.
Preparation time without browning 10 minutes
Preparation time with browning 15 minutes
Cooking time low 5–7 hours, high 3–4 hours, plus extra 20–30 minutes