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.
Adapted from Susan Spicer's Crescent City Cooking
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 4 boneless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each), with skin still attached
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped tarragon leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
Adjust the oven rack to the bottom third position, and preheat to 325°F. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Pour the olive oil into a skillet set over medium-high heat, and when just about to smoke, add the chicken breasts skin side down. Immediately reduce heat to medium, and cook until well browned on the bottom, about six to seven minutes. Move them occasionally to prevent them from sticking. Flip them, and cook until completely cooked through, about five to seven minutes. When done, transfer the chicken to an oven safe dish, and place in the warm oven.
Pour out any grease in the skillet. With the heat still on medium, pour in the stock and vinegar, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Let the liquid reduce to about 1/2 cup, and then stir in the butter, mustard, and tarragon. Stir until the sauce is "slightly creamy," and then turn off the heat. If needed, add more salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the chicken breasts between four plates, and spoon over the sauce. Sprinkle the chives on top. I served these with a side of roasted asparagus.