Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Chicken with Herbed Mustard Butter and Peas

By now, readers of this blog are probably thinking: a) Oldroses and I have both died, and b) I am (or was, if you believe a)) a vegetarian. Nope, wrong on both counts. We have both been really busy with gardening and whatnot, and those of you with gardens know that spring is actually the busiest time of year. But things are finally slowing down with that and some of my other activities, and I may have time to post some of the recipes I've accumulated in the meantime. And no, although I have posted several meatless recipes, I am not a vegetarian, and to prove it I herewith submit a recipe involving chicken.

My garden is producing lots of snow peas at the moment, and I was looking for a recipe that would use them. I found this one at epicurious.com. As usual, I made several changes. I used only 4 chicken breasts because that's how many come in a package, and I didn't bother to pound them flat. I also skipped the tarragon vinegar, though I did spring for fresh tarragon. I also left out the green onions and frozen peas, in the latter case mainly because I forgot to put them on my shopping list.

The instructions are as given in the original recipe, but they make it sound more complicated than it really is, especially if you aren't using the vinegar. In that case, all you have to do is sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and dried tarragon leaves, and saute them in the oil and butter. This all by itself gives a tasty result. The herbed butter is a very nice complement to the chicken; the mustard and tarragon flavors blend nicely. I made the full recipe's worth of the butter for 4 chicken breasts, and it wasn't too much, especially after putting some on the peas. This is a quick and easy recipe that turned out very well.

Verdict: Yum! This one's a keeper!

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Herbed Mustard Butter and Duo of Spring Peas
(source: www.epicurious.com)

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

2 1/2 cups fresh snow peas, trimmed
2 cups frozen petite peas
1 1/2 cups 1-inch pieces green onions
Fresh tarragon sprigs

Whisk 4 1/2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar, fresh tarragon, mustard, and parsley in small bowl.

Arrange chicken in single layer in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Pat chicken dry. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with dried tarragon, salt, and pepper.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Place rounded teaspoon tarragon butter on each chicken breast. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm.

Add vegetables to boiling water. Cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes; drain. Transfer to bowl. Toss with remaining tarragon butter; season with salt and pepper. Arrange vegetables around chicken, garnish with tarragon sprigs, and serve. Serves 6.

Bon Appétit, April 2004

compost: tarragon and parsley stems, pea and onion trimmings
recycle: mustard jar, oil bottle, vinegar bottle


Lauren said...

A, I'm curious: were the unpounded chicken breasts done as quickly as the original recipe indicates? I'm assuming that's the reason for the direction to pound thin. Do you recall how long these cooked in the skillet? Also, did you adjust the amount of fresh vs. dried tarragon? This sounds intriguing, and I happen to be growing tarragon this year, so I'd like to try it. I'm wondering about using either balsamic or rice wine vinegar. Seems as if the former might be too strong and the latter too subtle. What do you think?

A said...
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A said...
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A said...

I admit I wasn't paying attention to how long the chicken took to cook, but I'm sure it was longer than 5 minutes. I just let them cook until they were lightly browned on both sides. Yes, pounding them would probably shorten the cooking time. It might also get more of the vinegar flavor in (larger surface area). I did use dried tarragon for sprinkling on the chicken - and I didn't bother to measure it, just sprinkled some on each side - and fresh for the tarragon butter. I'm inclined to agree with you about the vinegars, though I don't have much experience with either type. Really, I thought it was just fine without any.