I’ve always wondered what exactly is French cuisine and what differentiates it from Italian cuisine as wine and cheese form a major part of both styles and both have a very rich and subtle pallet. After a little research, it turns out that during medieval times French cuisine was highly influenced by Italian cuisine and as centuries went by, it slowly got rid of its italian influence and developed its own unique style.
I wanted to try one of the classic french dishes called Poulet a L’estragon which is Chicken with Tarragon and White Wine sauce.
(Recipe taken from Nigella Kitchen)
Here is what you’ll need:
2 teaspoons garlic oil (or regular olive oil with 1tsp minced garlic)
2 fat scallions or 4 skinny ones, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon freeze-dried or fresh tarragon
2 chicken breast fillets, skinless and boneless
1/3 cup vermouth or white wine
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Fresh white pepper, to grind over
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, plus a pinch more for sprinkling
- Heat the garlic oil in a frying pan or Dutch oven that has a lid and in which the chicken breasts will fit pretty snugly. Add the scallions, stir, then sprinkle in the freeze-dried tarragon, stir again and cook them in the garlic oil for a minute, stirring some more as they cook.
- Put the chicken fillets into the pan, curved side down, and cook for 5 minutes, watching the scallions don’t burn. If they look like they’re beginning to, scrape them from the pan and let them sit on the chicken pieces.
- Turn over the breasts, and add the white wine (or vermouth). Let the wine bubble up, then add the salt. Put the lid on, turn the heat down low and leave it to simmer gently for 10 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked through by making a small cut into the thickest part and ensuring the juices run clear – if not, simmer for a few minutes longer and check again.
- Remove the chicken breasts to warmed plates. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil, add the cream and stir well, then sprinkle in the fresh tarragon, stir again and give a good grind of white pepper.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts, and give a final scattering of tarragon to serve.
Needless to say, the recipe turned out to be pretty awesome, my husband couldn’t believe I made this at home.;) The beauty of this recipe is that it has the perfect balance of flavors with such minimal ingredients and each playing a subtle role in bringing out its richness. And as Nigella suggests, relish the remaining gravy by scooping out every last bit of it with some nice fresh French Loaf, I loved it. This is definitely one of those dishes which makes me feel that I can never have enough of it. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did..:)