A week after my slice-and-dice adventure with the mandoline, I am still cooking, though wrapped up like a mummy is my bigass thumb.

Tonight it occurred to me to revisit French Bistro cooking, that measure of a chef (or cook) who can deliver satisfying everyday fare that seems like haute cuisine but, in reality, is a step above peasant or townsfolk fare. Nothing wrong with that–and though I may personally strive toward what I refer to as ‘restaurant quality’ dinners, I mostly find that I want food that is tasty, simple, and memorable.

I decided to make Poulet l’Estragon as the main course (chicken with a tarragon and wine/cream sauce) and this version is simple and sure to please your friends when they are sopping up the last bits of the delicious sauce.

You begin with a couple of teaspoons of garlic oil (which I concocted a few weeks ago by chance) and cook some green onions into it. Add the chicken breasts and sauté for about five minutes.


After five minutes, flip the chicken breasts and add the minced, fresh tarragon and the scant three quarters cup of white wine…and a little salt. You will now cover the skillet and poach it for about ten minutes.

It should look like this when it comes out.


Now isn’t a bad time to get your parsley and garlic mushrooms going in another skillet. Sauté some garlic, add the mushrooms (morels and shiitakes in this instance), and add a tad of salt and lemon juice. You’re done (of course, 30 minutes earlier you had peeled and prepped a couple if parsnips which must have just come out of roasting at 400 in the oven for 25 minutes).

Once you’ve determined that the chicken is cooked through (and considered that thigh meat might have been a better choice for next time), pull out the cooked breasts and put them somewhere warm to keep while you prepare the tarragon cream sauce

From the meat drippings, add a little salt, a couple of tablespoons of tarragon, and some heavy cream and cook at a boil. It will thicken nicely after a few minutes, then pour the sauce over the chicken.



Oh, and for the wine aficionados out there, I stopped by Grocery Express, that bastion of nearly expired but still safe food and found this bottle of Torrontes for only $3.99. Having little expectation, we were both pleased by this Argentinian vine which went very well with our meal.