Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tasty Tarragon, heavy cream, and white wine - are we in France or Savannah?

It would seem to me that tarragon is favored in Southern cooking as well as French cooking. I come to this conclusion because two recipes I've made this year, from the same cookbook, feature tarragon (and also heavy cream which is reminiscent of French cooking as well - all those sauces... mmmm). Moments ago, today, I made Chicken in Tarragon Sauce. Earlier this summer (look how behind I am on this blog) I made another recipe called Potato Gratin with White Cheddar and Tarragon. Both with tarragon, both with heavy cream, and white wine either in the recipe or on the side.

The cookbook, Manna from Savannah, is one that I picked up on a trip to Savannah at a bookstore called E. Shaver, a small locally owned bookshop that has been in Savannah's Historic District since the mid-1970s. I'd urge anyone visiting Savannah to wander up Bull Street to Madison Square to have a browse through their many rooms of books. They have an eclectic range of books and have a strong local offering - from guidebooks to cookbooks. It was on one pilgrimage there that I bought the mentioned cookbook (also Paula Deen's first cookbook but I'll post about that some other time).

This particular cookbook is interesting in that it was put together by a sort of ladies' guild. Its subtitle is "recipes from St. Peter's family and friends". Doesn't it seem that the best cookbooks come from parishioners who gather their recipes together? St. Peter's Episcopal Church is found on Skidaway Island, Georgia.

Here is the chicken recipe:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 T unsalted butter
3 T chopped shallot
1 T chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 c heavy cream
fresh lemon juice, to taste.

Flatten the chicken with a mallet. In a large saute pan, melt the butter with the EVOO. When hot, add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute gently about 3 minutes per side (juices should run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife). Put chicken on a warmed plate and cover. Put pan back on medium heat and add shallot, sauteeing until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tarragon and cream, increase heat to medium and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring, until bubbling and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Return chicken to pan and turn each breast several times in sauce until well coated and hot. Transfer to warmed plate and spoon sauce over the chicken.

What I did, instead:
I had dried tarragon (from the potato recipe to follow) and the chicken breasts were strips, pre-cut by Wegmans, so no need to pound them flat, really (my excuse for laziness). I didn't buy shallots and I did not use lemon juice. I also decided to throw the chicken in the oven on 375 for 30 minutes, with a nice coating of EVOO before throwing them inside. It all turned out just fine. I ate this with rice. The next recipe is also found in the same book.

The potato recipe:

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 t salt, divided
1 t pepper
1 t dried tarragon
7 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
1 c heavy cream
1 c dry white wine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 13x9 baking dish and layer 1/3 of the potatoes, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the salt/pepper mix, 1/3 of the tarragon, and 1/3 of the cheddar cheese. Repeat this layering until the above-mentioned ingredients are fully layered. Separately, whisk the heavy cream and white wine in a medium bowl and when done pour over the potatoes. Bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered another 30 minutes.


The photos: The top is from an outdoor market in Paris. The bottom is, of course, Savannah.


Karine said...

Both your recipes sound delicious! thanks for sharing:)

Bryan - oz4caster said...

I love just about any food that involves heavy cream :)

These both look like tasty and healthy recipes!

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