In the US, when you exit the highway for a rest and a bite to eat, you choose from among several fast food restaurants and maybe an Applebees. In France last month, when we exited the A10 to placate a crying toddler during a drive from Paris to the Loîre Valley, we rolled into a quiet, 12th century stone village named Rochefort-en-Yvelines. It was the kind of village that is shuttered and empty at noon on a Tuesday because everyone is home for lunch. But a brief walk up a cobblestone side street yielded a delightful scene. There, behind a courtyard wall were tables and tables of people enjoying lunch outside. We had stumbled upon the Brigandville Restaurant at the base of L’église Saint-Gilles-et-de-l’Assomption, a church built in the 11th and 12th centuries.
At this wonderful little spot (described so well in a blog post by Chocolat et Lavande here), my husband and I both ordered the Steak au Poivre, but it was the dish I ordered for my son that was truly memorable. It was chicken in a creamy tarragon, mushroom and Gruyére sauce served over wild rice pilaf. I’m pretty sure I ate more it than he did, the poor guy. Since returning home, I’ve wanted to recreate this amazing dish. It’s taken me awhile because I have trouble splurging on Gruyère cheese, which is $18/lb at our market, and I forget to buy fresh tarragon. But everything came together this weekend, so here it is.
I used a recipe that I found on the Food & Wine website as the basis for the sauce. Several differences evolved as I tweaked it. They use morels and cremini mushrooms, whereas, I just used regular white mushrooms. I used boneless, skinless thighs instead of chicken breasts. And, the Food & Wine recipe does not call for Gruyère, like mine does.
1 8 oz package of white mushrooms (I used pre-sliced)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8-10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1. Heat a large, deep sautée pan over medium high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. They should sizzle right away. Use tongs to open up the thighs and flatten them out. Sautée for about 4 minutes each side. Remove them from pan to a plate.
2. Add butter and mushrooms to the pan and sautée mushrooms until they just start to release their liquid, about 4 minutes.
3. Add white wine and simmer until reduced to just a couple of tablespoons, about 3 minutes.
4. Add chicken stock and simmer until reduced by 2/3, about 6 minutes.
5. Add the heavy cream and the tarragon and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and blend well. Add the grated Gruyère and stir constantly until melted and blended in. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Return chicken to the pan. (While the chicken was sitting, it sweat out a lot of juices. I did not add these back into the sauce because I felt I had gotten the balance of sauce flavors just right, but I imagine you could add that juice back in to good effect). Stir to coat chicken and simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Serve immediately over rice or pasta.
13 replies on “Chicken w/ Tarragon, Gruyère & Mushroom Cream Sauce”
“to die for” sauce indeed. What great flavours! Reminds me of an open faced “tartine” at Dame Tartine in Paris which had very similar ingredients and was also served with wild rice… YUMMO!
I’d love to pull off a highway to discover a meal like that! Your chicken looks incredible.
Chicken Tarragon is one of my favorite dishes. I love the addition of gruyere. Delicious!
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So funny, I passed by Rochefort En Yvelines last week to look for a wedding venue! Very nice recipe, .. very French, love it!
Tarragon and cream. Yum. This is a perfect on the road lunch.
Thanks so much for the depth at which you covered the topic.
I just tried this and it was fantastic! Seriously amazing!
I just tried this recipe tonight (but I did leave out the spices I wasn’t familiar with like terragon, white wine, cheese, and lemon zest), and it was AMAZING!!! Then I added garlic powder and onion powder when it said add the terragon. DEFINATELY TRY THIS!!! It has instantly become a famiy fav!
The recepie looks absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to make it at the weekend.
Just made this – fantastic. I happened upon when I went searching for something to do with an open bottle of white wine, gruyère, mushrooms, and chicken. I didn’t have any heavy cream, but I substituted 2% milk; it was a bit thinner than I imagine it would’ve been, but plenty tasty still.
[…] successful in his native Britain already. I was drawn to this chicken dish, because I love leek and mushroom cream sauces. I also happened to have all of the ingredients on hand. Jamie makes the process easy by […]
I just stumbled across this while clicking through “random” on Tastespotting. Although my husband is not a big fan of mushrooms, or cheese, I am excited to make this for my next girls night! I love the flavor of tarragon, but can never figure out what to add it to!