Monday, April 14, 2008

Recipe Review: Chicken and Asparagus with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce

Ah, my cookbook addiction. If you're part of a family that cooks then you know what I'm talking about. Every occasion is a reason for a new cookbook, every birthday, plus a few more on the side. I recently found a delicious looking recipe for Korean beef on fiery Chinese cabbage which looked delicious and led me to an out of print cookbook that, thanks to Amazon, I was able to order anyway.

Out of the many recipes I tagged once I got the book, the chicken and asparagus with mustard-tarragon sauce seemed the easiest, most seasonal, and least likely to offend the palates of my roommates, and indeed that is what it wound up being. Good, though I think it could have used a little more soul. Perhaps I should have served it on wild rice or seasoned rice, as it suggested, instead of plain white rice. I also substituted sherry for vermouth, which might have changed some of its essential character. Still, a nice dish. Something I would probably make again.

Chicken and Asparagus with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce
From On Rice: 60 Fast and Easy Toppings That Make the Meal by Rick Rodgers
  • French rice or steamed rice, preferably made with long-grain rice or wild rice
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into strips 2" long and 1/2" wide
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/3 c finely chopped shallots or scallions, white parts only
  • 1 lb medium asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 c homemade chicken broth or low-sodium canned broth
  • 1/3 c dry vermouth or white wine
  • 1/3 c sour cream
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 t chopped fresh tarragon or 3/4 t dried tarragon
1. In a medium bowl or plastic bag, combine the flour, 1/4 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper. Toss the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. In a large (12") nonstick skillet, heat 1 T of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

2. Add the remaining 1 T oil to the skillet. Add the shallots and stir until softened, about 30 seconds. Add the asparagus and 1/2 c broth. Increase heat to high. Cover and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer the asparagus with the cooing liquid to a bowl and set aside.

3. Return the chicken strips to the skillet. Add the remaining 1/2 c of the broth and the vermouth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, mustard, and tarragon. Stir into the skillet. Return to the heat and cook until just heated though, but not boiling, about 1 minute. Stir in the asparagus and its liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Spoon the rice into individual soup bowls. Top with the chicken, asparagus, and sauce and serve immediately.

Makes 4-6 servings. (In reality, it served the thee of us with no leftovers.)

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