Test Kitchen Favorite: Tarragon Chicken with Spring Vegetable Gratin
Banish boring chicken dinners from your weeknight rotation once and for all. Come together over this standout dish featuring chicken breasts seared for irresistibly crispy skin and tender meat. A creamy Gruyère-laden gratin, or French-style casserole, gets a springtime makeover with green pea shoots for subtle sweetness. Add a simple, elegant pan sauce of tarragon, shallot, and white wine for delicately rich flavor.
Adding liquid, such as wine, vinegar, or stock to the pan after cooking protein or vegetables loosens any bits stuck to the bottom. Scrape them up to reincorporate them into your sauce. They are full of flavor.
6 ounces cremini mushrooms ⅛ ounce fresh tarragon
1 ounce pea shoots
2 packets butter
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup peas ⅓ cup heavy cream
1 ounce shredded Gruyère cheese
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
tablespoons grated pecorino
¼ cup white wine
1 aluminum tin
1 tablespoon olive oil
10″ medium pan
1. Prepare Ingredients
Preheat oven to 425°F. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel and quarter. Roughly chop tarragon leaves, discarding stems. Peel shallot and mince. Rinse pea shoots and roughly chop. Cut butter into small pieces and place in refrigerator to chill until ready to use. Rinse chicken and pay dry with paper towel.
2. Sauté Vegetables
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add mushrooms and sauté, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add peas and pea shoots. Season with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and sauté, stirring, until bright green, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Assemble and Bake Gratin
Add heavy cream, Gruyère, and sautéed vegetables to tin, reshaping if bent. Toss to combine, then arrange in an even layer. Scatter over breadcrumbs and sprinkle pecorino on top. Transfer to oven and bake until bubbling and golden, about 12 minutes.
4. Sear Chicken
While gratin bakes, season chicken all over with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper as desired. Wipe pan from vegetables clean, add chicken skin-side down over medium-high heat, and sear without moving until skin is browned and fat is rendered, 6-8 minutes. Flip, reduce heat to medium, and sear until cooked through and no longer pink, about 6 minutes more. Remove from pan and set aside.
5. Make Pan Sauce
Place pan from chicken over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté, stirring, until soft and translucent, 1-2 minutes. Stir in white wine and cook, scraping up browned bits, until reduced by ½, about 1 minute (see Recipe Tip). Add tarragon and cook, stirring, until combined, about 30 seconds more. Remove pan from heat and stir in chilled butter to melt. Return chicken to pan and turn to coat.
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