Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recipe: Tarragon Chicken with Mushrooms & Garlic

I will show you a love potion without drug or herb, or any witch's spell; if you wish to be loved, love. – Charles Lindbergh

Chicken, pasta, garlic, cream... what's not to love?
This recipe is a variation of one that was posted on May 6, 2011. It’s interesting how changing just a few basic ingredients can really alter the end result of a dish.

Dew kissed tarragon. Photo:
Kathleen Farley, Flickr ccl
Even after all the turkey this past weekend, I chose chicken. Don’t ask why, except it was on sale and seemed close enough to fit with the overall season.

I had recently made tarragon vinegar and wanted to give it a try. Often flavoured vinegar can be used as a substitution for sherry (not always, but sometimes) and this was one. The original recipe was for “Chicken Penne with Garlic Cream.”

This recipe still uses cream, garlic, mushrooms, chicken, etc, but the flavour notes are tarragon which is spicy anise. Be careful how much you use as it can easily overpower.

Like its predecessor, this recipe is very good and very filling. Good homestyle bread rounds it out to a complete and delicious meal.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Tarragon Chicken with Mushrooms & Garlic
Prep: 10 min  |  Cook: 20 min  |  Serves 4
3/4 lb of rotini, cooked to package directions
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 medium-large onion, cut in 3 slices and then quartered
4 lg garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 lb crimini mushrooms, quartered
2 tbsp tarragon vinegar
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp to 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped (to taste)
1/4 cup pasta water
salt and pepper to taste

The addition of a little pasta water helps loosen the sauce
and adhere better to the pasta.
Cook the rotini according to package directions and keep warm, or cook the pasta while you make the chicken.

Heat the in a large flat sauté pan with a lid. 

Add the chicken thighs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear the thighs on both sides until browned. Cover the pan and allow the thighs to steam-fry for 2-3 minutes. This will finish cooking the thighs. Remove to a dish.

Add the onions and fry for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute more. Stir in the mushrooms. Mushrooms absorb a lot of oil when frying and will “suck up” any chicken fat remaining in the pan. 

Pour in the tarragon vinegar to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Scrape the fond off the bottom as it evaporates. Cook until the mushrooms are softened, about 4 minutes.

Slice the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Add back into the pan with the Mushrooms and heat through. Mix together the cornstarch and water. Add the cream, tarragon and thickener to the chicken and bring to a simmer. Let cook until the sauce is thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as necessary.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water. Add the water to the chicken and stir. Then add in the drained pasta and toss well.

Serve with crusty buttered country bread.


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