Susan Spicer's Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Vinegar, Mustard, and Tarragon

Dinner Tonight

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I've had Susan Spicer's Crescent City Cooking cookbook on the shelf for a while now, and even attempted some of the more time-consuming dishes, but never have I thought of trying this one.

I mean, haven't I already cooked a bunch of chicken dishes like this before? The process of sautéing chicken then making a sauce out of the browned bits is one of those tricks that's undeniably delicious, but what's left to write about it? Well, for what it's worth, Spicer's version is an especially good example of the method, and that's good enough for me.

In this case, the browned bits are deglazed with a mixture of stock and a lot of vinegar, so that the sauce has body and acidity. Plus the butter adds creaminess, the mustard adds more tang, and the tarragon helps freshen things up. Spicer calls this "the essence of French home cooking," and I'd have to agree.

Why I Picked This Recipe: Honestly, this is one of the only recipes in the book that can be completed in less than 30 minutes. I didn't have a lot of choices. That it was delicious and relatively easy was just a bonus.

What Worked: The chicken is cooked well, and the sauce is flavorful, but the best part of this recipe is how they come alive when combined. The sauce accentuates each bite, making the chicken taste even meatier than it did before.

What Didn't: The sauce never quite thickened in a way that was described in the recipe, so mine was a little thin. But it still tasted great, so I didn't worry that much about it.

Suggested Tweaks: The only suggestions I have are side dishes to pair this with. I roasted some asparagus, though any number of vegetables would work.