Dinner Tonight: Thomas Keller's Chicken Breasts with Tarragon

Dinner Tonight

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[Photograph: Blake Royer]

As tough as chicken breasts can be to cook—there's no fat or bone to help mitigate dryness—a pounded chicken "paillard" is as easy. It's a technique that becomes a no-brainer once you learn it, whenever sauteeing the old boneless, skinless standby. By pounding the breast into uniform thickness and watching carefully, you can turn out a surprisingly moist cutlet with plenty of caramelized surface area. Add a delicious pan sauce—this time, by one Thomas Keller—and it's a solid dinner, indeed.

Why I Picked This Recipe: I've already praised the technique with this recipe, which was a big draw, but I was also interested in Keller's combination of tarragon and curry powder in a single recipe. The fragrance and spiciness of curry powder fades subtly into the background, while the anise-y tarragon-butter sauce comes to the forefront. Together they make for an unexpected, wonderful flavor.

What Worked: The combination of classic French technique--a simple pan sauce made with shallots, wine, butter, and tarragon--along with the unusual spice profile with curry is the major achievement of this recipe.

What Didn't: My only suggestion next time would be to increase the quantities of shallot, wine, and chicken stock to make more pan sauce to go around. It's that good.

Suggested Tweaks: The recipe calls for dusting the breasts with the paprika/curry spice mixture and allowing them to sit for a couple hours; I skipped this step and cooked them straight away. But if time permits, it would allow more of the subtle curry flavor to penetrate the meat.

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Thomas Keller's Chicken Breasts with Tarragon »

Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home.