I consider Thomas Keller to be a demigod in the cooking world. This recipe is representative of the upgraded comfort food that you can find at his “ad hoc” restaurant in Napa Valley. The chicken is beautifully seasoned and browned to perfection before it is placed in a warm oven while you prepare the tarragon sauce. The sauce is simple and absolutely divine! White wine is added to sautéed shallots and reduced before adding a full cup of chicken stock. As the liquid is reduced again it develops into a rich, traditional French pan sauce. Once removed from the heat, a tablespoon of chopped tarragon and a bit more butter is added to build the fabulous flavor and aroma of the sauce. I promise that you will love the combined flavors of the delicate curry and paprika seasoning and the anise-like hints in the sauce. Served here with Orange, Fennel, and Olive Salad with Red-Pepper Flakes.
THOMAS KELLER’S CHICKEN BREASTS WITH TARRAGON (Serves 4)
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
- 4 large (about 8 ounces each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Kosher salt
- Canola oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, combine the paprika and curry powder. Sprinkle the mixture over both sides of the chicken breasts. If time permits, cover and refrigerate for a couple hours.
- Lay the chicken breasts between two large pieces of plastic wrap and gently pound them until they are uniformly of 1/4-inch thickness. Season both sides liberally with salt.
- Preheat an over to 200F, and place a baking sheet with a cooling rack set over it in the center. In a large (14-inch) skillet, heat a film of canola oil over high heat until almost smoking. Lay two of the chicken breasts presentation (smooth) side down into the pan and cook until golden, 1-2 minutes. Flip the breasts and cook the other side until golden, being careful not to overcook the thin breasts. Transfer to the rack, add a little more oil to the pan if needed, and repeat with the other breasts.
- Pour out any remaining oil in the pan and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the shallot and cook until just soft, about 3 seconds, then add the wine and cook until reduced by half.
- Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and reduce until thickened to a sauce consistency. Stir in the chopped tarragon and remove from the heat. Add the remaining butter and swirl the pan until just melted into a glossy sauce. Pour in any accumulated juices on the baking sheet and swirl to combine.
- Arrange the chicken on a platter, pour the sauce over it, and serve immediately.
~ from SeriousEats.com