Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tarragon Chicken with Buttery Leeks

Another recent acquisition of mine, of the cookbook variety, is The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper. (I've recently become addicted to The Splendid Table's radio podcasts - it's total food geek heaven). It's an utterly gorgeous book filled with so many recipes that I can't wait to try. This is the first. I'm pleased with how it came out, though it is a soft-spoken type of recipe. Elegant and understated. We're talking white wine, not red.

This dish is not something that will utterly wow you, but it does sneak up on you with its velvety smooth sauce. The leek is a creature I have only just begun to tackle, and I have to say, I think we'll be revisiting the leek often. It's a great alternative to scallions, with a much more gentle flavor that won't leave you with horrible breath all night.

I served it on
a simple bed of cous cous, which was the perfect base as it soaked up the extra sauce and took on the flavor quite nicely. I was going to suggest other sides to try with it, but honestly I can't think of a better partner for this meal than cous cous. Let me know if you have another idea for this one.

Tarragon Chicken with Buttery Leeks
from The Splendid Table's "How to Eat Supper"
serves 2


1 cup thin-sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (1 small leek, cleaned)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pounds)
kosher salt
and fresh-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon coarse-chopped fresh tarragon leaves


There's that French oven again....

1. Place the leeks in a pan or large skillet with the chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook at a gentle boil over medium heat until the leeks are tender, and the broth has reduced so that the leeks are no longer completely submerged, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and place on top of the simmering leeks. Spoon some of the leeks over the chicken, and cover the pan tightly. Reduce heat to low. After about 8 minutes, turn the chicken over and cover again. After a total of about 12 minutes, check the chicken for doneness. Do not overcook!

3. When chicken is cooked, transfer it to a warm plate. Increase the heat under the leeks to high, and stir in lemon juice, remaining tablespoon of butter, and the tarragon. Cook until butter melts, and season to taste.

4. Pour leek sauce over chicken and serve.


1 comment:

  1. I definitely agree that couscous makes the best "nest' for this dish - it is always my choice when I have a favorite sauce to be absorbed and eaten, rather than wasted swirling on the otherwise emptied plate.