Pan Seared Chicken in Tarragon Cream Sauce

 

Ingredients: 

  • Thin cut chicken breasts (I was making 8)
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp shallots
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped 
  • Juice of half a large lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms
    • cleaned with stems removed, sliced
  • 6 -8 large garlic cloves
    • just cut in half
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    •  I used Sauvignon blanc
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Written Method:   

Note:  You could go with regular chicken breasts here if you need to, but I am going to save quite a bit of time by using the thin cut ones.  If you are using a regular breast, you will need to either slice them thin by butterflying them (like a book) and pounding them out to a uniform thickness, OR... cooking them quite a bit longer so that they will be completely cooked through.  If you would prefer chicken thighs or similar dark meat pieces, go for it, but please cook them longer than I am cooking these thin-cut breast pieces.


Step-by-Step:  

Season your chicken simply with kosher salt and black pepper.  Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy pan and let it get really hot.  Add the chicken to the pan.  The chicken should start to sizzle immediately.  If it doesn't, that means your oil is not hot enough.  You may need to add the chicken in batches depending on how much you are cooking.  Don't overcrowd the pan, as it will drop the oil temperature too much.  After a few minutes, flip the chicken over.  The chicken should release easily if it's ready.  If it sticks, it's not ready.  Remove the chicken to a plate and cover lightly if you wish to keep warm.


To that same pan, without cleaning it out, add your shallots.  I have my fire on about medium heat.  You can add an extra tablespoon of oil if you feel like you need.  If you do, add it along one wall of the pan, so that by the time it gets to the bottom, it's hot.  Sauté them around for a minute or so to allow them to wilt. Add in the garlic cloves.  I am not cutting them small.  They will really mellow out and get sort of roasted and sweet when they are like this in the sauce.  You can always pick out the large cloves later, but I betcha you will love them!  Go ahead and add in the crimini mushrooms now.  We will welcome the liquid that they are going to give off.  Let's get this all sautéed together.  

Add in the butter next for some silkiness.... Followed by that dry white wine (Sauvignon blanc in this case) to deglaze the pan. 


Note - Always use a wine that you are actually going to drink if you are a wine drinker.  If you are not a wine drinker, I recommend that you purchase the small little individual wines that are available in a 4 pack.  They are usually just the right amount for a recipe without having to purchase and open a whole bottle.


I am now bringing this all up to a boil, and adding in the fresh chopped tarragon.  Mmmm.  After it reduces a bit, I added the heavy cream.  We are in business now! When I get the sauce pretty much the consistency that I'd like it (which didn't take long at ALL), I added back the cooked chicken. I'm added the juice of half a lemon, just to add some brightness to the sauce.  Before serving, I added just a smidge more fresh tarragon.  Fresh herbs have a way of losing some of their pungency during the cooking process, so I wanted to make it just a little more assertive.


I served this gorgeous, silky sauce over some garlic mashed potatoes, with a side of roasted asparagus.