Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gastronomy: Chicken Tarragon, an Ideal Weekday Meal

According to one really annoying celebrity chef, 30-minute dinners are easy to achieve. In fact, this particular chef boasts that there are hundreds of recipes that a home cook can prep, cook, and serve within the confines of a half hour. From my experience (and I cook often), unless you are making a sandwich, most dinners require more time than that. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the concept of a meal requiring little time and effort. During the week when work, school, and activities manipulate our schedules, most mothers would love to have a Rolodex of meals that were attainable in such a short amount of time.

I came up with the recipe for Chicken Tarragon when my finicky eating toddler decided one day that he actually liked chicken. It’s savory, easy, and quick—not 30-minutes-quick, but definitely less-than-an-hour-quick. Served with a side of steamed asparagus and a piece of crusty bread, it's well-rounded and pretty, too!

Tarragon Chicken with Asparagus

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 T unsalted butter for browning meat
2 ½ T fresh tarragon chopped
Juice from a half of lemon
¾ c dry, white wine
2 c chicken stock
¼ c heavy cream
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 loaf crusty sour dough bread
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

In a pot, boil salted water for asparagus. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry and season with a little bit of salt and pepper (be careful not to over-salt, because the sauce is quite savory). Heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. When butter is thoroughly melted and beginning to bubble, place chicken in skillet; brown both sides. Deglaze pan with white wine, making sure to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom. Reduce to half and add 1 ½ c of the chicken stock, tarragon, and cream. Reduce temperature to medium-low heat and cook about 25 minutes until the sauces thickens (if it becomes too thick, add the additional ½ c stock). Mix in lemon juice and simmer 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. While chicken is simmering, blanch asparagus for 3-5 minutes; remove from water and set aside.

Place one piece of chicken and a portion of asparagus in four low bowls. Spoon sauce in equal parts over chicken and asparagus and serve with a chunk of bread. This dish goes great with a crispy white wine.

Although I still haven’t convinced my son to try the asparagus, he gobbles up the chicken, sauce, and bread in way less time than it takes me to make it. Maybe that’s what the celebrity chef means by 30-minute meals—consumption time. If that's the case, Chicken Tarragon is a 10-minute meal that's sure to please even the pickiest palates in your house.

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Anonymous January 29, 2010 at 3:46 AM  

This sounds delicious. Definitely will try.

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After becoming mothers, sisters Sarah Romine and Leah Weyandt wanted to marry the activities and interests that they experienced before motherhood with their new found lives with children. This was not always an easy task—traveling to obscure places, shopping at off-beat boutiques, and sipping lazy-afternoon cocktails doesn't always fit neatly with parenthood. Stemming from their frustration, they meticulously searched, and continue to search, for activities, establishments, and entertainment that they take pleasure in and their families benefit from. The result? Mod City Mom.

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