A Chicken Dish for Spring Herbs
This dish is inspired by the beautiful spring weather my garden has enjoyed this year. The first herbs to come up were tarragon and chives, which are the essence of spring. Combine this dish with with a chilled glass of Viognier or Chenin Blanc and add a light tossed salad with a basic french lemon vinaigrette. Serve for a delicious lunch or dinner and relax into a beautiful spring evening.
This meal is excellent to serve guests. The chicken is tender and juicy. The sauce is well balanced with a light touch of fresh herbs. I’ve added wild trumpet mushrooms to add texture and a mild flavor, but quartered brown or white mushrooms work just as well. If you can get some chanterelles even better!
Compliment with Buttery Rice
I’ve included a basic buttery rice recipe in this post. Since the chicken will be very rich, the sides should be simple in comparison. Cook the rice in butter/olive oil (like the chicken) and add chicken stock with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium-low after first bringing it to a boil. The rice takes 20-25 minutes.
After the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork and toss in thinly sliced spring scallions. Be sure to prepare the rice and keep warm prior to starting the Poulet à l’Estragon.
Poulet à l'Estragon (Chicken with Tarragon)
- 2 6oz chicken breast, boneless/skinless cleaned and pounded to uniform thickness
- ⅓ cup AP flour (Optional) Omit if you are on Keto.
- 2 tbsp olive oil, good quality
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 whole shallot, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp fresh tarragon
- 1 tsp fresh chives
- trumpet mushrooms, fresh (optional) If you don't have fresh trumpet mushrooms in your area, any fresh mushroom will substitute.
- 1 ½ shot Cognac (about 2oz)
- 1 ½ tbsp sherry vinegar
- 4 oz chicken stock
- ½ cup cream
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 1 whole medium tomato, peeled seeded and diced
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Buttery Rice with Scallions (If using, prepare before the chicken and keep warm)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup white long grain rice (or your favorite rice)
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 cup scallions, sliced thin and added after the rice is cooked and cooling
Melt the butter and olive oil in a pot until hot.
Add 1 cup rice and continue to cook for 10 minutes, being careful to stir until grains of rice are slightly browned and opaque.
Add bay leaf, 2 cups of chicken stock and a pinch of salt.
Bring the stock to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Cook the rice until all the liquid has been absorbed and can be fluffed with a fork (20-25 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to sit still covered for 5-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork. Add the scallions.
Check for final seasoning and add more salt/butter if needed. Reserve and keep warm.
Chicken and Tarragon
Peel and mince the shallots and reserve.
Clean and pick over the trumpet mushrooms (if using). If using white or brown mushrooms, quarter these to cook along with the shallots. Reserve
Core a medium size tomato. Cut an X into the bottom. (The X will make it easier and serve as a starting point to peel the tomato.) Submerge in boiling hot water for 10 seconds. Carefully remove from the hot water and shock in ice water.
Use a paring knife to peel back the skin starting at the X and remove. Once peeled, cut the tomato through the horizontal (see image) and carefully squeeze out the seeds, (you may need to use your finger to get all the seeds sacs out). Keep the tomato mostly intact. Slice into thin strips and dice into cubes. Reserve
Wash and clean the tarragon, while pulling the leaves off the woody stem. Chop into a fine dice. Wash the chives and chop into thin slices. Do the same for the parsley. Reserve.
On a cutting board, trim fat or cartilage off the chicken breast. (Clean and sanitize your cutting board.)
Place the boneless skinless chicken breast (one at a time) in a gallon sized Ziploc or between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or tenderizer to pound out to a uniform thickness while keeping the basic shape of the breast.
In a medium sized kitchen bowl, add the flour and season with salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate.
Remove the chicken breast from the plastic and dredge the chicken breasts in the seasoned flour. Reserve.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat with the butter and olive oil. Test heat by dropping a pinch of dredging flour into the butter/oil mixture. It is ready when the flour starts to sizzle. Carefully add the chicken breasts and cook until one side is golden brown. If the oil is too hot (dark bits form in the pan), remove the saute pan from the heat and lower the temperature to continue.
With a set of tongs, carefully turn the chicken breast and cook the second side.
Once the second side is golden brown, remove the chicken to another bowl or plate and reserve.
Add the peeled and minced shallots to the pan that sauteéd the chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of white pepper and salt. Cook until the shallots and mushrooms are tender.
Deglaze the pan with Cognac and sherry vinegar. The alcohol may ignite while cooking in this step, but it will cook off very rapidly and reduce to almost nothing. When this happens, add the chicken stock and stir.
Once the chicken stock has reduced to half, add the cream and stir into the shallot/mushroom mixture. Add the sauteed chicken breast back into the sauce. Turn the chicken over to thoroughly coat the chicken breast. Continue cooking for 2 minutes and add the tarragon and chives. Cook for 1 minute more.
The chicken should be fully cooked by now. If you are unsure, test with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should be 165°F or 75°C. Add half of the chopped tomato. If the sauce is too thick you can add a bit more chicken stock or cream to thin out. If the sauce is too thin, lower the heat and let it cook out till thickened or add some a small amount of cornstarch mixed with water.
Serve the chicken with the buttery rice or your favorite side dish. Top with a light sprinkling of reserved dice tomato and parsley.