Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce
Alison Wright, RD, MS is the Director of Nutrition Services at Ennis Regional Medical Services. In addition to her cooking expertise, Alison is a registered dietitian.
Alison and her husband, Bill have one daughter who lives in New York City. Although she was born in Tennessee, Alison has lived in several states, the latest one prior to moving to Texas being Louisiana; that in and of itself creates a very interesting story (for us, maybe not for Alison and Bill).
They lived right outside of New Orleans for many years and were living there when Hurricane Katrina was projected to hit New Orleans. The hospital where Alison worked evacuated their patients to Baton Rouge and she and her husband went to Gonzales, Louisiana to wait out the storm. However, the evening that Katrina hit, they went back to the hospital, through all the roadblocks, and were able to feed the state troopers, and other police personnel that were at the hospital. For several days the staff (dietary) that could get to the hospital fed the military (a group of search and rescue personnel) that stayed at the hospital at night and any other police who were there. They were fortunate in that Alison had contacts with food vendors that were able to provide food on an every other day basis from another part of the state as the local food vendors had left New Orleans. They also called in food orders from a company in Dallas over the satellite phones as none of the phones at the hospital were operational after the hurricane.
A month later Hurricane Rita hit and Alison and the rest of the food services staff were again called upon to serve the public. After all the hurricanes that they had been through Alison and Bill decided that it was time to leave for another part of the country and, fortunately Alison was offered a job in Ennis with the same company.
When not busy cooking at home or taking care of patients, physicians, and staff at ERMC, Alison enjoys gardening and reading mystery novels.
Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup heavy cream — you may substitute skimmed evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided or substitute sea salt
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon butter, divided
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon peanut or canola oil
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided, plus more as needed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh tarragon or dill, plus sprigs for garnish
Combine lemon juice and cream in a small bowl. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix 1 teaspoon flour and 1 teaspoon butter in another small bowl until a paste forms. Set both bowls aside.
Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and white pepper.
Dredge lightly in the remaining 1/2 cup flour, shaking off any excess. (Discard leftover flour).
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken—do not crowd the pan. Cook, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total.
Add 1/2 cup broth, reduce the heat and cover. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. (Check to make sure the pan juices don’t run dry. If necessary, add more broth a tablespoonful at a time, to prevent scorching).
Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and tent with foil.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup broth to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 2 to 4 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium, add the reserved lemon cream and bring to a simmer.
Gradually whisk in the reserved butter-flour paste, a few bits at a time, until the sauce coats the spoon, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in peas.
Reduce the heat to low and return the chicken to the pan along with tarragon (or dill). Turn to coat with the sauce and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Slice the chicken and serve with the sauce, garnish with sprigs of tarragon (or dill), if desired.
Recipe makes six servings.
Nutrition Information per Serving:
Fat Total: 10g
Percentage of Calories from Fat: 39 percent
Fat, Saturated: 5g