Remove any visible fat from the chickens and cut them into 16 portions (or ask your butcher to do this for you).
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, shallow pan, add the leeks and bacon and fry gently over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, without allowing the leeks to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Remove the leeks, bacon and garlic using a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving no traces that could blacken during the next step.
Brown the chicken pieces on both sides, over a high heat and in batches, for 3–4 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and golden (add a little more butter or oil to the pan if necessary). Set aside on a plate.
Drain off all but 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of the fat, add the mushrooms and fry over a high heat for 2–3 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden. Pour in the cider and bubble briskly for 3 minutes, stirring and scraping to dislodge the golden sediment on the bottom of the pan.
Return the chicken (skin-side up), leeks, garlic and bacon to the pan and add the tarragon, thyme sprig and a big pinch of salt. Reduce the heat and bubble, uncovered, for 25–30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked right through. Turn the chicken pieces over three or four times while they cook.
Remove the thyme sprig, stir in the cream, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook gently for a few more minutes, or until the sauce has reduced slightly and thickened. Scatter with parsley and serve hot with mashed or crushed potatoes and a green salad or vegetables.
permission of Scrumptious South Africa
and published by Random House Struik