Monday, February 15, 2016

Chicken and Mushrooms with Tarragon Cream Sauce

A few years ago, Sister got me an electric skillet for Christmas.  I requested one after we went to a friend’s house for dinner and she made an amazing chicken scaloppini in her electric skillet.   I thought, what a handy little apparatus, and added it to my wish list.

Then, I promptly forgot I had it.

Then, my dryer died.

Then, I cleaned my basement so the Home Depot delivery people would not kill themselves navigating the cluttered labyrinth when I finally buy and have a dryer delivered.

Then, during the excavation, I found my unopened electric skillet.

Then, I decided to put this small and handy appliance into active service. 

So I searched “electric skillet recipes” because mine, strangely, did not come with a recipe booklet, and one from Cuisinart appeared in the search.  Included were several tempting recipes, Asparagus and Prosciutto Frittata, Bolognese Sauce, Turkey Meatballs, and the one I made for dinner this past week Chicken and Mushrooms with Tarragon Cream Sauce. I love it in my Chicken Pot Pie recipe.

I love mushrooms and tarragon, with its distinctive licorice/anise flavor and aroma is a highly underrated herb.  I may hesitate to use tarragon in sweet things like I would rosemary, thyme and sage (thyme shortbread cookies are the best!) but eagerly look for for savory chicken, meat, fish and egg dishes to use the leafy herb.  Chop some up and toss it in a salad or use it to flavor butter or white wine vinegar.

What I did not know is that French tarragon is only grown by root division and not by seed because its flowers are sterile.  And, apparently, tarragon tea is a traditional cure for insomnia.  The things I learn writing these posts!!!

Oh, I forgot our Dinner Night was Ash Wednesday so I could not eat the chicken, but I enjoyed it the next day and I made Chicken Salad with the other leftover pieces.

This absolutely delicious recipe is written for an electric skillet but can be easily adapted for a regular stove top skillet.  I served with fresh tagliatelle and roasted asparagus.


6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (5-6 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced 
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock, nonfat, low sodium
1 tablespoon freshly chopped tarragon divided
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), slivered, divided 
1 cup light cream (I used Half & Half)
Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Preheat Electric Skillet to 300°F; melt oil and butter. Add chicken breasts and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes; turn and cook 2-3 minutes longer. (Do not cook through – they will finish in the cream sauce.) Remove chicken, cover loosely while making sauce.

Heat remaining oil and butter and brown mushrooms, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add shallots; stir constantly for 30 seconds or until softened; do not let burn. Add wine, chicken stock, 1/2 tablespoon tarragon, 3 teaspoons sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until liquid has reduced to about 1/2 cup; add accumulated juices from the chicken breasts and cook 1 minute. Add cream and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. 

Push the mushrooms to one side; return chicken breasts in a single layer. Cover and reduce heat to 200°F; simmer until chicken is cooked through, 5-6 minutes longer.

To serve, place chicken breasts on a warm plate; cover with sauce and mushrooms. Garnish with remaining fresh tarragon and sun-dried tomatoes. * If you do not have fresh tarragon, substitute fresh parsley and add 3/4-teaspoon dried tarragon with the sun-dried tomatoes.

We had a velvety and delightful homemade chocolate pudding for dessert…how long is Lent?

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