Tag Archives: tarragon

Popover Chicken Tarragon with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

15 Nov
Popover Chicken Tarragon

Popover Chicken Tarragon

I dusted off this recipe out of my 1979 Better Homes and Garden Cook Book and decided to not only make the mushroom sauce healthier, but to alter the method of “frying” the chicken first. I thought it would be neat to melt my frozen tarragon oil cubes in the casserole dish, then baste the chicken with the tarragon oil and bake the chicken for about a half hour before adding the popover batter. Unfortunately I had a complete “DOH!” moment when I went to pour the batter over the chicken when I took it out of the oven. I had the eggs all mixed with everything else but wanted to wait to add the flour because I didn’t want it to harden or get too stiff in the half hour the chicken was in the oven. So the timer went off, I pulled the chicken out of the oven and poured the egg mixture over it and popped it back in. About five minutes later as I was cleaning up my mess on the counter, I noticed – yep, you guessed it – the flour still in the measuring cup on the counter. ACK!!! You know I thought the batter looked a little watery, but I blamed my poor memory of the dish I’d made 20 years ago and convinced myself that’s the way it’s supposed to be and would set and rise in the oven. Alas, what a mess that turned out to be. I pulled the chicken out of the dish with tongs, then poured the flour right into the casserole dish and mixed it right there in the sizzling hot casserole dish. Then I dunked the chicken back in. Needless to say it made for a pretty messy dish.  And the durn thing stuck to the sides pretty bad too since my oil coating got mixed in with the batter, so there was no hope of getting a shot of it plated with the mushroom sauce served over it. I tried to crop out most of the sides in the picture. HOWEVER, the good news is my family thought it was delicious! My husband was disappointed though it didn’t have any chicken wings in it like the picture in the cookbook. I have taken a shot of the recipe (and its photo) so you can compare the differences in the recipe.

Popover Chicken Tarragon

4 cubes frozen tarragon oil (or sub 2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon dried tarragon)
1/4 cup flour
Mrs. Dash Table Blend
Ground black pepper
2 large bone-in chicken breasts with skin (about 2 pounds)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon

Tarragon Coated Chicken

Tarragon Coated Chicken

Turn on the oven to 400, add the oil and tarragon to a casserole dish, and place in oven while the oven preheats.  Meanwhile, mix the 1/4 cup flour and seasonings to taste on a plate. Coat the chicken in the flour, then carefully remove the casserole dish from the oven. Place the chicken in the dish and coat the chicken with the tarragon oil using tongs and a baster. Place the dish back in the oven with the chicken skin side up. Cook for a half hour. Meanwhile, whisk three eggs, the oil, and baking powder in a bowl with an electric mixer until the eggs are frothy. Add the flour and tarragon and mix well. Go ahead and do it now so you don’t forget the flour! The then start making the Mushroom Sauce (recipe below). After a half hour, carefully pour the batter over the chicken. Cook for another half hour or so until the chicken is done and the popover is brown and crusty. Serve with Creamy Mushroom Sauce.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce

4 tablespoons butter or equivalent
4 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms (about 3/4 cup)
2 green onions, white and light part only, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
Mrs. Dash Table Blend (or salt if you prefer)

In a saucepan, cook the mushrooms, onion and garlic in the butter on medium low heat until the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and mix into a paste. Add the milk and chicken broth all at once, and whisk to combine. Cook over medium low heat until it thickens. If it gets too thick, add more milk or chicken broth. Season to taste.

Better Homes and Garden Photo

Better Homes and Garden Photo

Better Homes and Garden Recipe

Better Homes and Garden Recipe

Harvesting Your Herbs for Winter Use

10 Oct
Filling Tray with Tarragon

Filling Tray with Tarragon

I’ve been hauling the remnants of my herb garden in and out of the house the past week, since it’s been getting down below freezing (or close to) and I still had some harvest-able fresh herbs. I saw this great idea on Pinterest on how you can harvest, freeze, and then use your fresh herbs throughout the winter! What a great idea. I really can’t attribute this to any one person, as I guess it’s a method that has been done for years but I obviously never paid attention since I had never had an herb garden before this year. You can read about my herb garden here: Planter Pot Fresh Herb Garden

The method is simple. Clip all your fresh herbs with scissors, strip the stems of their leaves, then dice small. Fill ice trays (or in my case, I also used one of those egg-holders from my fridge) with a teaspoon to tablespoon of the diced herbs. Pour olive oil into each “cup” until just over the top of the herbs, then freeze. Once frozen, you can empty them into Ziplocs and label them. Next time you want to saute up some veggies for soup or make a sauce, take one (or two or three) of these cute little cubes and throw them in the pan! Now you have the oil AND herbs ready to go!

Tarragon with Oil Ready for Freezer

Tarragon with Oil Ready for Freezer

My herbs haven’t had time to freeze up all the way yet for a photo at the time of this writing, so can’t show them labeled in the bags, but I’m sure you get the gist. If you haven’t harvested your herb garden yet if you have one, now is the time to think of salvaging them for the winter.

I ended up freezing lots of tarragon, a fair amount of basil, and some chives: One egg and one ice tray of tarragon, one ice tray of basil, and a half ice tray of chives.  I didn’t plant near enough cilantro and that’s been long gone, but I’m going to attempt to grow my rosemary bush in the house over the winter. If I see it’s starting to fail, out come the scissors and ice cube trays!

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

2 Oct
Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

I set out to make this a vegetarian dish for a work Fall Harvest Soup Potluck, but after finding I didn’t have enough veggie broth for it and used chicken broth instead, I said “what the heck” and added some ham chunks I had in the freezer. But feel free to sub veggie broth and omit the ham. I was gone again for four days from Friday through Monday, then had this soup potluck to prepare for after we drove four hours back from the coast. (No Big Fish, AGAIN! We did come back with more Dungeness crab for the freezer. MMMM.) I made this AFTER fixing a dinner of chicken tenders, baked potatoes and broccoli, so wasn’t exactly in the mood to dash out to the store to buy more veggie broth. But that’s OK. From the ingredients you can see that it’s easily adapted to a vegetarian meal. No gluten either! We had nine large pots of different soups show up at the potluck, plus a full salad bar for whatever you wanted with three different greens and all manners of veggies. Oh and real bacon bits. We do have our bacon lovers in the office, too. Full bellies, happy workers.

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced baby carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Lots of black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, to taste
6 to 7 cups of chicken or veggie broth
3 or 4 cans of Canellinni beans (or any other white beans), drained and rinsed
1 can of diced petite tomatoes, drained
1 cup of diced ham, optional
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh minced tarragon

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, sauté the carrots, celery, and onion over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté another two minutes or so. Add black pepper and Mrs. Dash to taste. Pour in the broth, and bring to a simmer for about another half hour until the veggies are tender. Add all but one can of the white beans. Take the other can of rinsed and drained beans and add to a blender with about a cup of the broth and puree until smooth, then add to the soup. Now add the can of tomatoes. One interesting factoid I’ve learned in the past is that the acidic properties of tomatoes will hinder your veggies from getting “more tender” after adding the tomatoes, so wait until you are happy with the softness of them before adding. Next, add the ham if you want. Lastly, add your fresh minced herbs. Feel free to exchange for different fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, thyme, etc. These are just the ones I had fresh, but I made sure the rosemary was the overriding herb of this soup. Feel free to add some salt to taste, but I really didn’t think it needed it with the ham, but you might want to if making this vegetarian.  Bring back to a simmer for a bit now to let the herbs meld. I then transferred the soup to the crockpot then refrigerated overnight to heat up when I got to work. Soup’s On!

p.s. Just a photo note, I took the main photo BEFORE I added the rosemary. Only had the tarragon in at that point. I added the rosemary the next day, as it was a true Duh moment for me.  I was tired and cranky, lol. But the rosemary shined through in the end.

Lemon Tarragon Summer Squash Soup

12 Sep
Lemon Tarragon Summer Squash Soup

Lemon Tarragon Summer Squash Soup

A co-worker brought a bunch of zucchini and yellow squash to work from her garden, but when I got to the booty there was only one 10-pound (no lie!) zucchini left, and one nice-sized yellow squash. I opted to take the yellow squash, as I had visions of a table full of zucchini loaves if I had taken the monster home. The weather has started turning chillier in this neck of the woods, and with just one lonely squash it really wasn’t enough to make a full side dish. So soup it was! I still had tarragon left in my herb garden, and some green onions in the fridge. I also had a half of a small yellow onion so used that too. The only thing I didn’t have was…garlic! GASP. How on earth can I not have garlic in this household? So I had to settle for the Mrs. Dash substitute and a little garlic powder. The lack of this item will NOT happen again any time soon, I can tell you. Lastly, I wanted to give it a little zing, so squeezed in a half of a lemon. That made a delicious difference. I pureed only half in the blender because I wanted to have some chunks of squash to give it a little more substance.  This was a great end-of-summer lunch.

Lemon Tarragon Summer Squash Soup

1 large yellow squash
2 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
Black pepper to taste
3 cups chicken broth, homemade preferred
Juice of 1/2 large lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup milk or cream
Tarragon, shredded Parmesan cheese, chives, croutons for garnish

Squash, Tarragon and Green Onion

Squash, Tarragon and Green Onion

In a soup pot, sauté the squash and onion in the olive oil and butter until onion is tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the seasonings and stir, then pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice.  Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the squash is tender all the way through. Remove from heat and add the milk or cream. Puree about half the soup in a blender, then return to pot. Keep warm until ready to serve. I added some tarragon, Parmesan cheese and chives. The cheese really made a difference. After I took the photos and was slurping my soup while writing this, I flashed on the fact we had some garlic croutons in the house. I threw several in the last of my soup. Now THAT was a good idea!  The taste of this is very light, lemony, and summery. Enjoy!

Planter Pot Fresh Herb Garden

15 Aug
Basil, Tarragon, Lettuce

Basil, Tarragon, Leaf Lettuce

Most of my recipes lately have included some pickings from my herb garden I planted earlier this year. Since we are renting I had to make do with using planters, but the bounty has been fabulous! Pictured are sweet basil, tarragon, mixed leaf lettuce, and cherry tomatoes. In addition to what’s pictured, I also have cilantro but it’s pretty much picked and spent now.

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

I also have a rosemary bush my mother gave me that I’ve been using a lot too. I planted all this from seed, except the cherry tomato plant which was about 12-inches tall when I got it. I put them on the railings of our back deck, which gives me a good visual reminder to water them every day, especially in this hot weather we’ve been having.

Mixed Leaf Lettuce, Tarragon, Basil

Mixed Leaf Lettuce, Tarragon, Basil

So no recipe today but just some pictures for you to enjoy to help you think about planting your own herb garden next spring.

Update: I forgot I planted chives too! They are in the container with the cilantro, and since I didn’t take a picture of them, they were out of sight, out of mind! Silly me.

Leaf Lettuce, Red Leaf Lettuce, Tarragon, Basil

Leaf Lettuce, Red Leaf Lettuce, Tarragon, Basil

Grilled Lemony Chicken with Spinach and Pasta

11 Aug
Lemony Chicken with Spinach and Pasta

Grilled Lemony Chicken with Spinach and Pasta

My family RAVED over this dish. And they don’t “rave” very often about some of my experiments. They say “oh, that was good” but this time they were truly excited about the flavors and bright colors of this dish. It was another scorcher day when I made this, but I wanted something more substantial than a salad but also didn’t want hot potatoes or anything like that. I had just bought a bag of spinach the day before, and my husband had come home with several lemons that day. Both of them went faboulous with the chicken and pasta. I hope you think so too. Oh, and don’t be shy about adding the crushed red pepper flakes. I had seen several recipes that add crushed red pepper to spinach, and it added just the right amount of zestiness to balance out the lemon. Give it a try!

Lemon Chicken Marinade

1 pound boneless chicken breast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning (I would have added more but that’s all I had left in the container)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Black pepper to taste

Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise, and pound to an even thickness with a mallet. Put the chicken in a quart Ziploc bag. Whisk the rest of the ingredients well and pour over the chicken. Marinate for at least an hour up to overnight.

Lemony Chicken with Spinach and Pasta

Lemon Marinated Chicken
Dried spaghetti noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 9 oz. bag fresh spinach
Juice of another 1 lemon
2 tablespoons butter or substitute
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small chopped tomato
More black pepper to taste
Shredded Parmesan

Lemon Spinach Tomato Sauce

Lemon Spinach Tomato Sauce

Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Meanwhile, start cooking the the pasta according to package directions. Now put the chicken on the grill then immediately heat a large skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil, garlic, spinach and lemon juice. Stir until the spinach starts to wilt, then add the rest of the ingredients except the Parmesan. Turn the heat to medium low, and now go back out and flip the chicken over (this should be at the five to seven minute mark). Grill for another five to seven minutes until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle. The pasta should be ready by now. Drain, then divide among plates. Top with a serving of the spinach tomato sauce. Cut the chicken into thin slices and place on top of the spinach. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese. Dig in!

Marinated Grilled Zucchini and Squash

15 Jul
Zucchini and Squash Ready for Prepping

Zucchini and Squash Ready for Prepping

I simply love grilled zucchini and squash, and I wish I could say I used some from our garden, but I only have a small potted herb and lettuce garden. The good news is I used fresh tarragon and basil from it for this recipe. In the past I have typically marinated the veggies in Italian salad dressing, but this time I wanted to make my own marinade. Recent purchases of two types of vinegar helped add a nice tang to it. If you don’t have either of those vinegars, you could sub any type of wine or cider vinegar, I’m sure. Same for the herbs — oregano, rosemary, thyme…

We served this with grilled steaks and baked red potatoes. A nice summer fare!

Marinating the Veggies

Marinating the Veggies

Marinated Grilled Zucchini and Squash

1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped fine
1 teaspoon fresh sweet basil, chopped fine
Black pepper to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large glass or rubber flat dish, whisk all the ingredients except the vegetables and cheese until well blended. Slice the zucchini and squash lengthwise into even strips and place in the dish with the marinade, using a basting brush to coat well. Grind extra black pepper over all to taste. Cover and let marinate at room temperature for two to four hours. Heat the grill to high heat, and cook about 15 minutes, turning once halfway through.  I added shredded Parmesan cheese in the last few minutes of cooking. You can reserve the marinade to drizzle over the squash when serving, for extra flavor.

Grilled Zucchini and Squash

Grilled Zucchini and Squash

Tarragon Lime Roasted Chicken – Paul’s Way

5 Apr
Tarragon Lime Roasted Chicken

Tarragon Lime Roasted Chicken

We’ve been eating a lot of red meat and pork lately, and one of our goals has been to cut back on that but with the slew of recent visitors we’ve failed miserably.  Last night we had a vegetarian meal, and I was right proud of my husband when he made a  meatless meal last night. I do believe that’s the first one in recent memory! So today I wanted to make something with chicken, and I checked the freezer and we were flat out of any kind. So I asked him if he could pick up some fresh chicken from the store on his way home. I just didn’t want him to come home with frozen chicken I would have to defrost. I do seem to remember a similar event regarding ground burger…hmmm. Anyways, I had oven-baked chicken tenders coated with bread crumbs or something like that in mind. However, my husband tends to take things I say very literally sometimes. When he came home, I asked if he got the chicken. “Yep, sure did, and it’s a big one!” OMG. I then had my own literal moment of a whole chicken, complete with feathers sitting on the cutting board ready for me to chop the head off. “What on earth did you buy?” I asked, as I was typing away at some work email I was crafting. “You asked to get a fresh chicken, so that’s what I got. A nice whole chicken for us. What did you want to do with it?”

LOL. OK, so plan B, huh? I do love homemade roasted chicken, don’t get me wrong. He just threw me for a loop for a few minutes. After thinking about it, I crafted a recipe in my mind with what I knew we had on hand. He had arrived home early from his work, and I still had an hour or so left, so I told him I’d season it up if he’d prep and wash the chicken and get the oven preheated. Well, he did a nice job of washing it inside and out, and even patted it dry with paper towels. Thing is, when I got to it, I discovered he forgot to take out all the giblets inside! It’s a learning curve for that man some days, I tell you. So after removing the giblets (set aside to cook later as “treats” for our dog), I got it all prepped. This recipe is very simple, and after I prepared the chicken I let Paul cook it. He said you can never over-cook a chicken, as long as it’s done slow and on low heat. I must admit I was a bit worried about the time it was in the oven, but it came out juicy, tender, and perfect!

Tarragon Lime Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken (no head or feathers, please)
Spray olive oil
Black pepper
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
Crushed dried tarragon (fresh would probably be better)
2 limes, each cut in half

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Remove the giblets from the chicken then wash the inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.  Spray the chicken lightly all over with olive oil.  If you don’t have spray olive oil, just pour a couple teaspoons into your hand. Rub it in all over with your hands. Season the chicken inside and out with black pepper and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb and rub that in too. Squeeze one of the half-limes over the top of the chicken and spread it around. (Save the squeezed lime remnant!)  Lastly, sprinkle the crushed tarragon over the top and bottom of the chicken. Place the chicken in a foil-lined pan, then stuff the inside of the chicken with all the lime halves. Cover it tightly with foil and place in the oven for 1  hour and 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and bump the oven up to 300 degrees. Baste the chicken with the juices in the bottom the pan with a brush, and bake for about 1 to 1 and a half hours longer, depending on how reliable your oven cooks. We are still trying to get the hang of our gas oven, it sure cooks different from an electric oven! Baste periodically during that time. In the last 15 minutes, bump the oven up one more time to 350 until the skin is brown and crispy. Remove from oven, and let sit for 1o minutes. We served with rice and steamed broccoli. Use the leftovers for chicken salad the next day!

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