Tarragon gives chicken a heady aroma

Fresh herbs, poultry and a little vermouth are all you need for this simple French dish that is full of flavor.

My introduction to this dish came at a small French restaurant where they only served dinners based on food they found at the market that day. Fresh, sweet tarragon formed the base of their tarragon chicken.

Another herb, fresh chives adds flavor and color to microwaved brown rice.

Helpful Hints

If fresh tarragon is not available, used dried. Make sure the leaves are still green not gray or brown for best results.

A quick way to chop fresh herbs is to snip the leaves off the stems with a scissors rather than chopping with a knife.

If the chicken breast is more than 1/2-inch thick, cut it in half horizontally to reduce cooking time.


Prepare chicken.

Make rice.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion

Such a rich and savory sauce calls for a chardonnay — a fat, rich one from California or Australia, not a lean one from Italy. If you prefer red wine, a buttery Beaujolais would do nicely.

Shopping list

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.

To buy: 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1/2-inch thick), 1 small bottle dry vermouth, 1 small carton heavy cream, 1 bunch fresh tarragon, 1 bunch fresh chives and 1 package microwaveable brown rice

Staples: Olive oil, flour, onion, carrots, low-sodium chicken broth, salt and black peppercorns.

Tarragon Chicken

2 Tbsp. flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1/2-inch thick)

2 tsp. olive oil

1/2 cup sliced onion

1/2 cup sliced carrots

2/3 cup dry vermouth

2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. heavy cream

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon, or 2 teaspoons dried

Season flour with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove visible fat from chicken and add to the flour. Make sure both sides are coated with the flour. Shake off any excess flour.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Lower heat to medium, add onion and carrot and cook until they shrivel, about 5 minutes.

Add vermouth and raise heat. Reduce by half, about 30 seconds.

Add chicken broth and reduce again by half. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Return chicken to pan to finish cooking, about 5 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 165 degrees. If the pan becomes dry, add a little more broth.

Add cream and tarragon and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 334 calories (32 percent from fat), 11.9 g fat (3.4 g saturated, 5.3 g monounsaturated), 136 mg cholesterol, 41.5 g protein, 12.4 g carbohydrates, 1.6 g fiber, 151 mg sodium.

Chive Rice

1 package microwaveable brown rice to make 1 ½ cups cooked rice

1 tsp. olive oil

1/4 cup freshly chopped chives, or 2 tablespoons dried chives

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook rice according to package instructions. Measure 1 1/2-cups and set aside any remaining rice for another dinner. Add the olive oil, chives and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 184 calories (18 percent from fat), 3.6 g fat (0.6 g saturated, 2.1 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 4.0 g protein, 33.8 g carbohydrates, 2.8 g fiber, 8 mg sodium.