Friday, June 10, 2011

Skillet Tarragon Chicken

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch as our family of 6 eats, or tries to, on $6/day.

Tarragon is the herb of the gods. I'd never ever had it until trying this recipe several years ago. It smells like the angels are cooking in your kitchen--it's more subtle than the loud Italian seasonings, more sweet-ish than it's savory brothers like parsley and dill. It's just awesome and if you've never cooked with it, you really really should. This week.

If you're growing herbs in your garden, tarragon is a perennial and will return its bounty to you year after year. Just be sure to buy the French tarragon, which you will have to purchase as a plant. If it's grown from seed, it is Russian tarragon which isn't as good and which has weed like qualities.

This recipe has another angelic quality: cream. I'm sorry. I love it and it loves me back. If you have issues with cream, like that it contains fat, you could try making this with whole evaporated milk, which also has fat, but not quite as much. I haven't done this, but if any substitution is going to work, that'd be the one. (If you do try it, let me know how it turns out.) But really, I think you should live dangerously; I think you should try it with cream. It goes a long way for adding flavor and beauty to the dish. It pairs with tarragon like Romeo and Juliet minus the tragedy. It is surprisingly un-heavy in this dish. Who knows--maybe you, like me, will become a rebel without a cause and start keeping cream on hand.

I like this chicken served over rice or with potatoes. Although I bet it would work well with a thick, ever-so-slightly chewy pasta as well.

Skillet Tarragon Chicken
adapted from 365 Ways to Cook Chicken
serves 4-6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cost: $6.00
(chicken: 5.00--we used half as much as called for; chicken broth--.15, cream: .75, other stuff: .10)

2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 chicken breasts (we used two), cut into strips
3/4 C chicken broth
2 tsp mustard (Dijon is better, plain works)
1 Tbs fresh tarragon, chopped, or 1 tsp tried tarragon
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 C heavy cream

In large frying pan, melt butter in oil over medium heat. Add breast and cook about 4 minutes each side. Remove and set aside.

Add chicken broth to pan. Bring to a boil. Stir in mustard, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Taste and add salt or more pepper if needed. Whisk in cream and boil gently until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.

Return chicken to pan. Turn in sauce to coat, and simmer 5-10 minutes more until chicken is tender and cooked through.

Serve over rice, pasta, or potatoes.



  1. Made this tonight with dried tarragon. Amazing ...loved it!

    1. So glad. And thanks for reminding me about it. Maybe I'll make it this week when my in-laws come to visit.



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