Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon

This documents the second recipe attempt from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.  I love cooking chicken as it is so versatile and simple to prepare.  This recipe was extremely easy to follow and the succulent results earned it a spot in my top quick and easy chicken recipes, along with my favorite Baked Chicken with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Artichokes.

The paprika and curry power made a fantastic spice rub with which to season the chicken breasts.  I could have eaten the sautéed chicken breasts with this seasoning alone even without the tarragon butter.  However, the tarragon sauce really blended beautifully with the curry flavor and make the resulting combination irresistible!

The first time I made this, I totally forgot to flatten the chicken breasts and thus when sautéing for just a couple minutes each side, the chicken breasts did not get cooked the entire way through.  Thus, I had to use the oven to finish cooking the chicken breasts rather than using it solely to keep them warm… so don’t forget to flatten the chicken!  There’s an actual purpose to it besides just having the dish taken up more surface area on your plate.

Try serving with Roasted Asparagus and Purée of Garlic Potatoes (or Potato and Oil Purée), Summer Vegetable Gratin, or Romano Beans with Mint.

Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon (from Ad Hoc at Home)

Yields: 6 servings


  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder or Yellow curry power
  • 6 large (~6 oz each) or 12 small (~3 oz each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • Canola oil
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 1 T minced shallot
  • 1/4 C dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • 1 T tarragon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 T whole tarragon leaves for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Mix together the paprika and curry in a small bowl.  Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Lay 2 pieces of chicken on a large piece of plastic wrap, cover with a second piece of plastic wrap, and, using a meat pounder, pound to about 1/4 inch thick.  If you don’t have a meat pounder, anything heavy with a flat surface will do the trick.  I used a small skillet and gave the meat a few good whacks.  It was actually quite fun!

Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.  At this point, the chicken can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°F.  Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet.

Season the chicken on both sides with salt.  Heat some canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, without crowding, add the chicken to the pan, presentation (smooth) side down, and cook, adjusting the heat if necessary, until the bottom is golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.  Turn to the second side and cook until golden, another 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Transfer to the rack and keep warm in the oven (I don’t have one, but highly recommend to use as you can use the chicken drippings to add to the tarragon sauce for more flavor!).  Add oil to the pan as needed as you cook the remaining chicken.

Pour any remaining oil from the pan and wipe off any burned bits.  Melt 1 T of butter over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 30 seconds, swirling the pan to coat the shallot with butter.  Pour in the wine, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the wine has been reduced by half, about 1 minute.  Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and cook until slightly reduced and thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the chopped tarragon and remaining 2 T of butter, and any juices that have accumulated on the baking sheet and swirl to melt the butter.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the chicken pieces on a platter, pour the sauce over it, and garnish with the tarragon leaves.

Try serving with Roasted Asparagus and Purée of Garlic Potatoes (or Potato and Oil Purée), Summer Vegetable Gratin, or Romano Beans with Mint.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: