Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Vermouth and Tarragon Sauce

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1/2 c all purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2T vegetable oil

1T vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
3/4c chicken broth
1/2c dry vermouth
3T unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled
1t dried tarragon (I used parsley)

1. For the chicken: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the flour in a shallow dish.
2. Pound the thicker ends of the breasts as needed. Pat dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Dredge through the flour to coat and shake off any excess.
3. Heat the oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high head until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm in the oven.
4. For the sauce: Add the oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and 1/4t salt and cook until softened, about 2 min. Stir in the broth and vermouth, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 8 minutes.
5. Stir in any accumulated chicken juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Off the heat, stir in the tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving.

It's been a few days since I made this one, so I'm going on a very faulty memory about it. I served it with a side of spaghetti, and we definitely loved the sauce on that. I think the chicken was ok, nothing spectacular, but good enough to try again.

OH!! I forgot to mention that the instructions say that 4T heavy cream can be substituted for the butter in the sauce to make a cream sauce. I definitely think this was better than the butter sauce would have been--nice and rich and creamy YUM! This sauce, if not the chicken, is definitely a keeper!

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