Thursday, February 9, 2012

What to Cook Next

I buy a lot of skinless, boneless chicken breasts with big plans to cook them in high rotation, but then when I go to reach for them, something stops me. It's like a little voice in my head pipes up and says, "Do you really want to eat a dry and tasteless piece of rubber?" Well, when you say it like that, the answer is a definite no.

But recently (or maybe not so recently, I can't keep track these days. OK, I just checked and it was October.), I tore out a recipe from Food & Wine magazine showcasing the most succulent, juicy looking chicken I've ever seen from a feature called "What to Cook Next." It was a pretty haughty directive, but one I was willing to (eventually) take. And I'm glad I did.

It kind of started when I decided I had to clean out my freezer. I saw the sad bag of chicken breasts and knew it was probably one of the first things I should address. I recalled said recipe but thought the food editors might have met their match this time. Frankly the recipe looked too easy. I felt like I needed something magical to transform this pitiful chicken. And that's exactly what happened. Magic.

It started out with pretty much the same drill: heat olive oil in a skillet and season and cook the chicken over moderately high heat, turning, for about 10 minutes.

You add garlic and onions and then some broth with crushed coriander. It cooked on low heat for another 15 minutes, until the chicken was cooked through. I actually split the breasts in half to make them cook more evenly and quicker. 15 minutes definitely did the trick.

Next, I transferred the cooked breasts to a platter and coverd to keep warm. I then whisked the whole-grain mustard, crème fraîche and tarragon into the broth and simmered over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. This is the magic part I mentioned earlier.

I added back in the chicken breasts to coat in sauce and then plated.

And it was so frickin' good. Make this. It's what you should cook next.

Chicken Dijon
from Food & Wine

1 tsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in half across if needed)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
3 Tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
Crusty bread for serving

1. In a large skillet, toast the coriander seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to a mortar and let cool. Crush the seeds coarsely with the pestle.
2. In the same skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and crushed coriander and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
3. Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover and keep warm. Whisk the mustard, crème fraîche and tarragon into the skillet and simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet to coast. Plate and serve with crusty bread.
Note: Serves 4 and can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, but it will be eaten well before then!


  1. Tarragon makes everything taste better, I just love this herb! Great post!

  2. ok, i am literally salivating while reading this. not to mention, i have been in a total chicken breast rut for quite some time. this looks right up my alley and i can't wait to try it. thanks!

  3. Hi Holley,

    This recipe sounds great and I will give it a try next week. I love your blog. I'm in Santa Barbara too. Aren't we lucky to have access to such wonderful food here?