(Recipe) Easy, Delicious French Chicken Entree

chicken with tarragon and creme fraicheThis 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

Serves 4-6

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

tarragonTarragon — the French kind, not the Russian kind — is one of my favorite herbs and is very compatible with chicken.

  1. In a spice grinder or mortar & pestle, combine the coriander and mustard seeds with the peppercorns and pulverize. Mix with chopped herbs.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Chicken in tarragon cream sauceIf you’re in a hurry, just make the chicken and sauce and serve it with rice.  Consider adding mushrooms, as seen here.

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