You know those recipes you have bookmarked or otherwise saved for months, or years, and when you finally make them, you wonder why you waited so long?
Yep, this is one of those. I’m smacking myself.
Chicken in Tarragon Mustard Cream Sauce
adapted from Food and Wine
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound white or brown mushrooms, thinly sliced or chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 lb thin to medium asparagus spears, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, tips reserved
1 cup chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
Place a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and then place in the pan and brown for 2 to 3 minutes*, until the chicken has given up a bit of its fat, and you can move the pieces around. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, until nearly cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a separate bowl and set aside.
(*If using chicken breast, add a couple of teaspoons of oil first; thighs already have just enough fat around the edges to get things started.)
Add the mushrooms and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus stalks, stock (or water), mustard and tarragon and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the half and half and stir in the peas and asparagus tips. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
Serve over noodles or rice.
This dish is so quick to prepare and so simple to cook, it’s almost laughable how huge the payoff in flavor and complexity is. But hey… mustard, white wine, cream. Come on. It’s classic for a reason. Add garlic and fresh herbs and you are hitting a home run every time, guaranteed.