Monday, 14 July 2014

Tarragon chicken

I have quite a bit of tarragon growing in the garden. Not planted by me, just leftovers from the previous owners. Last year I didn't use the tarragon at all and this year I decided I have to try and use it for something. To be quite honest, I wasn't quite sure what the heck tarragon was. I had to look what it translates to in Finnish (it's rakuuna by the way) as I thought that might help me figure it out. It didn't as I realised I've never used it for anything. So I had to google what I could do with it, and one of the recipes that came up was tarragon chicken. We are very fond of chicken in this house, which you probably are in no doubt of if you have been following my blog. So feeling adventurous I decided to give tarragon chicken a try.

According to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge and wisdom, tarragon is an important part of French cuisine and it's particularly suitable for chicken, fish and egg dishes. It's part of BĂ©arnaise sauce. Apparently it's also a part of a popular green soft drink in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

I used this recipe by Nigella Lawson. It sounded straight forward and easy and didn't include any weird ingredients (although I have to admit I didn't have any vermouth in the house so I thought this is a good excuse to acquire some). I made some small changes to the recipe as I didn't have any freeze dried tarragon and I doubled the recipe as I had four chicken breasts to cook.

Tarragon chicken (serves 4):
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
4 scallions
1 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
4 chicken breasts
2/3 cups of vermouth (and maybe then some...)
1 cup (250 ml) double cream
salt and black pepper to taste
3 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

The howto:
Heat the olive oil to medium heat in a large frying pan that has a lid. Add the garlic, scallions and tarragon. Cook for a minute while stirring. Add the chicken breasts curved side down and cook for 5 minutes. Scrape the scallions and remove from the pan if they start to burn. Turn the chicken breasts over and add the vermouth. Reduce heat and let simmer gently for 10 minutes with the lid on. Check that the chicken is cooked by cutting through in the thickest part of the fillet. If not, let simmer for a few more minutes. Remove chicken breasts from the pan, and add the cream. Bring to a boil, making sure to scrape any bits and pieces which may have gotten stuck to the pan. Add the tarragon and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with potatoes and veg.

The verdict:
I have to admit, I can't say I'm a huge fan of tarragon after trying this recipe. I'm not saying it's bad, it just had nothing on, for example, this amazing sun dried tomato chicken recipe I tried a while ago. But the Culinary Consultant liked it and said he wouldn't mind having it again. So maybe there is use for our tarragon after all.

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