Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poached Chicken Breast with Tarragon Cream Sauce

I know it will come as quite a shock that I'm posting a chicken recipe, since I've declared my apathy toward chicken many times on this blog. However, I have to concede that if you take the time to cook it properly, it can be good.

This is a recipe I learned in culinary school and I took step by step pictures of the method, as you could apply this to any type of protein (it is particularly good with chicken or fish).

Yield: 2 entree size portions

2 chicken breasts, bonelesss and skinless
2 ounces butter
Salt and white pepper, to taste
2 ounces dry white wine
12 ounces chicken stock
1/4 Bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
4 ounces heavy cream
2-3 fresh tarragon sprigs

Choose a pan that will just hold the breasts when they are placed close together. The pan should basically be just big enough to hold the chicken without crowding it, but not much bigger.

Rub the bottom of the pan with a bit of the butter, reserving the rest. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then arrange them in the buttered pan. Add the white wine, stock, bay leaf, and fresh tarragon.

Cut and butter a piece of parchment paper into a circle, with a small hole in the middle. Cover the chicken breasts. Bring the liquid to a simmer and then reduce the temperature to low to poach the chicken.

In a small separate pan, make a blond roux with 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Set aside to cool.

The chicken should take about 15-20 minutes to poach. Watch the color changing; once the chicken pieces have turned entirely white, they will be nearly done. When the chicken breasts are cooked through, remove them from the pan and set aside. Thicken the liquid with the roux. Add the cream. Simmer and reduce to the desired consistency. Strain the sauce (or just remove tarragon and bay leaves) and adjust the seasonings to taste.

Serve each breast with sauce, garnish with bay leaf or a sprig of fresh tarragon.

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