Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Easy Tarragon Chicken

When our daughter was younger and Mr B and I were both working full time, this super simple chicken dish was a life saver for me. On busy weeknights, especially when school sports and little league came into the picture, I could whip this whole dinner up in about a 35 to 40 minutes, complete with some Rice Pilaf and some fresh Green Beans or steamed Broccoli.

If you make it a point to keep certain ingredients in the house, weeknight meals can be a breeze to prepare.  Even now that we're empty nesters, I always have chicken breasts in the freezer and my pantry is always stocked with rice and pastas, beef, vegetable and chicken broth/stock and of course Dry Vermouth. Why the vermouth? Well, because it's the ultimate substitute for white wine in any recipe that calls for it. It's basically a fortified wine, which means it has a long shelf life and doesn't need to be refrigerated after opening.

I usually buy Martini & Rossi or Noilly Prat brand. They're good quality and both retail for about ten bucks (or less) a bottle. Oh, and please don't use the "cooking wines" that you find in the condiment aisle at the grocery store.  They have huge amounts of sodium as well as other preservatives in them and they just don't taste as good as the real deal.

So, on with the recipe.....

Mrs B's Easy Tarragon Chicken
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, well trimmed (you can use boneless thighs instead, if you prefer)
  • 2 Large Shallots, chopped (1/2 of a small red onion can be substituted)
  • 1 - 2 Tbls Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tbls Butter
  • 2 Tbls Fresh Tarragon Leaves, chopped or 1 Tbls Dried Tarragon Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth/Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Dry Vermouth or Dry White Wine
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Heat Oil and Butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Season the Chicken on both sides with Salt and Pepper. When the butter and oil are just beginning to sizzle, add the Chicken to the pan, making sure not to crowd the pieces too much. Cook them for about 5 - 7 minutes on each side until they're light golden brown and firm to the touch. (if your chicken breasts are quite thick, you can pound them slightly so that they'll cook more quickly and evenly)

Remove the Chicken to a plate and cover it with foil to keep warm. I usually put it in a warm (250 to 300 degrees) oven.  Add the Shallots to the pan and saute them until they are just softened a bit. Add the Vermouth, scraping up any brown bits from the pan and bring it to a simmer. Once the Vermouth is reduced slightly, add the Chicken Broth and Tarragon and bring it back to a simmer. Add the Chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate back into the pan and loosely cover it with foil or a lid. Cook for another 4 or 5 minutes, checking and turning the Chicken once or twice to coat it in the sauce.

While the chicken is cooking you'll have plenty of time to prepare your rice/pasta and vegetable of choice. If you're watching you're carb intake, just fix a big tossed salad or make extra vegetables. When everything is done, remove the Chicken to a platter and spoon or pour sauce over. Serve and enjoy!

Live Well, Eat Well!

~Mrs B


  1. Gosh, I could have used this last night...

  2. Oh, how perfect! And especially lovely with fresh tarragon popping up in summer gardens ... :)

  3. Liza: OOPS! Sorry! You know, I almost posted this yesterday. Oh well, at least now you have something to possibly keep in mind for another night!

    Mary: We have a "container" herb garden on our deck every summer and Tarragon is always included. I L.O.V.E. it in vinaigrettes and even torn into pieces and tossed into a salad of mixed greens. And who can resist a homemade Bernaise with a nice juicy steak now and then? Not this girl! ;~)

  4. Lordy lordy lordy girl... you know that I am on a cleanse and eating meager food.. Am I am going to have to "unfollow" you, you dastardly wench who is making me HUNGRY!!! LOL

  5. Tracy: Oh no! I'd sit right down and cry if you un-followed me! LOL Maybe you should give yourself one "cheat day" a week and use one of my recipes to do it! (I like being called a wench! Makes me sound downright dangerous! hee hee!)


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