This simple entree — pan-roasted chicken breast with tarragon creme fraiche sauce — is impeccably French and ever so delicious. I saw it in a food magazine and tweaked it a bit. The most work involved is prepping and cooking the vegetables, so if you’re in a hurry, make just the chicken and sauce and serve with rice.
Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Tarragon Crème Fraîche
1-2 finely chopped shallots, peeled
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Greek oregano or summer savory, chopped
4 medium fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
2 medium peeled carrots, sliced diagonally 1 inch thick
1/4 head cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2-inch florets
1/4 pound haricots verts or thin green beans, trimmed
4-5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
flavorful extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 boneless chicken breast halves with skin or skinless*
1/4 cup dry white wine
8 oz. crème fraîche (this is a common size for containers)
1/4 cup chopped tarragon
- In a spice grinder or mortar & pestle, combine the coriander and mustard seeds with the peppercorns and pulverize. Mix with chopped herbs.
- Prep the vegetables and cook in boiling water separately. Cook potatoes for about 10 minutes, carrots for 7 minutes, beans for 5 minutes and cauliflower for 7 minutes. Remove cooked vegetables from water as soon as they’re cooked and set aside. Drizzle olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice over vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon, oil and seasonings as needed. Hold in a pot that can be put on the stove.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and coat all over with the ground spices and herbs. In a skillet, melt the butter. Cook the shallots for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken breasts skin side down and cook over moderately low heat until the skin is well browned, about 10 minutes. For skinless breasts, cook for about 7 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook, basting a few times, until just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to an oven-proof platter and keep warm in the oven.
- Rewarm the vegetables. Add the wine to the skillet and boil over high heat for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add the crème fraîche and bring to a boil, stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the tarragon. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, mound the vegetables alongside and serve.
Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared one day ahead through Step 2. Refrigerate the steamed vegetables; keep the spice mixture at room temperature.
* I recommend the air-cooled chicken from Whole Foods, which is more flavorful than the water-cooled kind