Wash the chicken under cold water. Tie the bay leaves, peppercorns, rosemary and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth as a sachet garni. Put the chicken into a pot large enough to hold it, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, carefully skimming off any scum and grease that accumulates on the surface of the water. Add the salt, sachet garni and onion, carrot, celery and leek, return to the boil, reduce again to a strong simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
Turn off the heat and cool the chicken in the broth in an ice water bath. When thoroughly cold, remove the chicken and strip off all of the skin and discard. Strip the meat from the bones, and shred using scrupulously clean hands and work station. Strain the liquid, discard the vegetables and the bouquet garni.
Place the chicken broth in a 4 quart casserole and bring to the boil. Add the carrots and celery and simmer for 10 minutes. Mean put he butter in a saute pan and begin to cook the shallots over medium heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook over high heat for 5 minutes .
Add the cream to the pot over broth and vegetables and then add the Sauteed mushrooms to the pot. Simmer this for 5 minutes before adding the chicken and continuing to cook for 20 minutes. Add the tarragon and place into single serving crocks or bowls and top each one with a biscuit.
4 to 6 portions
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. After the dry ingredients are thoroughly blended, add the buttermilk, cream and combine. Add the cold butter in rapid succession, combining only briefly, to leave the mixture as mealy as possible.
Scrape this lumpy dough onto a lightly floured board and flatten gently with a rolling pin into a rectangle shape approximately 1-inch thick. Cut into 4 or 6 equal rounds. Brush a cookie sheet lightly with melted butter, place the rounds on the sheet and place the cookie sheet into the refrigerator to rest for 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the chilled shortcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.
4 to 6 ( 4-inch diameter) round biscuit tops
Copyright Michael Lomonaco 1997