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May Third Thursday: Tarragon might be my favorite herb May 20, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff.
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Here it is, the third Thursday of May already!  I keep wanting to ask myself where the time goes – then I remember that that’s what old people do – they lose track of time and talk to themselves!

PhotobucketOne of the daily blogs I subscribe to in my Google Reader is called Kalofagas, and it’s written by a Greek Canadian who lives in Toronto named Peter.  Boy, talk about a difference!  Kind of like here in balmy Rochester, where we’ve gone from perfect  beach weather back to snow flurries in the space of a week – and we didn’t even need to travel to the Mediterranean and back!

One of the things I so enjoy about Peter’s blog is his obvious affection for, and knowledge of, the country of his heritage.  It kind of makes me wish I knew more about my great-grandparents’ Sweden.

Photobucket(And yes, I know where the library is.  And the internet.  I’m tired.)

I’ve tried a couple of Peter’s recipes for classic, but little-known (to me, anyway), Greek dishes and been very pleased – and drooled over a lot more!  I was more than happy, when I saw it, to try yet another  –  Tarragon Chicken with Peas & Carrots.

After all, you may recall from Monday’s photo of the herb garden, we’ve got fresh tarragon.  Boy, do we have tarragon!

What really captured my attention with this dish, besides the liberal use of much-ignored tarragon, was his description of sharing the kitchen:

One of the best cooking experiences has to be when a couple cooks. The dance, the synchronicity by the sink, the Cha-Cha in the kitchen.


Obviously, though, this man doesn’t have an oversized dog – he makes the Cha-Cha more like the Twist!

We did make a couple of ever-so-slight adjustments to the original recipe – the main one being the lack of, um, tree resin.  We used three  small chicken breast halves, rather than the two large, flattened pieces called for (there were three of us for dinner), and I doubled the sauce.


Once the chicken was patted dry, seasoned with salt & pepper, and started in the saute pan, we started water for a pound of fettucine.  Meanwhile, I pulled out my santoku knife to dice the carrots – we used 3  medium-ish carrots.

They softened fairly quickly in the pan, with 1/2 cup or so of white wine.


Now, this is where we had to make a last-minute substitution.  Do you ever look at something, but not really look at it?  Like, say, glance at a recipe and say, yep, chicken, chicken stock, carrots, fresh tarragon, white wine, blah blah blah, yeah, we’ve got everything.  Only to realize that, buried way down toward the end of that list was half a cup of heavy cream.

We don’t typically keep heavy cream in the house.

Now what?

One of us could run to the grocery store for a pint of heavy cream.


Yeah, right.

So that leaves substitutions.

Sour cream?  Maybe.

Evaporated milk?  That’s actually what we went with.

And surprisingly, it worked nicely.  It didn’t add that tanginess that sour cream would have, but the creaminess, while not that wonderful heavy-cream creaminess that we know and love, was still thick and creamy.

And it didn’t involve an extra trip to the grocery store, which is a real plus!


So we went ahead and reduced the sauce – just a bit – then returned the chicken to the pan and added some frozen peas and a good-sized pile of tarragon.

And a little extra for good measure!

Would you believe, looking at that pile of herbage, you wouldn’t even be able to tell where I’d cut it?  That tarragon is out of control, I’m telling you!


So, what’s the verdict?  The sauce was very, very good.  Because we’d removed the chicken from the pan before building the sauce, the chicken itself was simply . . .sauteed chicken.  Good, but nothing exciting.  But the sauce?  Oh, my!  Creamy and tarragon-y, with the underlying white wine and chicken stock – we loved it.  In fact, there was pasta left over, which made a fine lunch for me the next day.

Peeps suggested using frozen peas & carrots next time, rather than taking the extra few minutes to dice and cook fresh carrots, but, to be honest, I didn’t mind.  (That, and we’ve had a problem finding peas-and-carrots.  What is up with that, anyway?)

Regardless, we are definitely adding this to our collection of dishes we’d be happy to make again!

If you’d like to play along, leave a comment with a link to (or description of) your Third Thursday project – tell us what you’re up to!  For loose guidelines, or if you want to check out some past Thursdays, they’re right here! 



1. Peter - May 20, 2010

So happy that you made this dish…one of the first “cooking as a couple’dishes for me. Frozen peas and carrots are a goodsub but as you found out, not always available at the market.

Hi, Peter – thanks for stopping! Peeps and I have enjoyed cooking together for a while now – it’s only been the past couple of years, though, that we’ve made it something of a threesome – our poor puppy can’t stand to be more than 3 feet from at least one of us, which makes it challenging in our tiny kitchen!

2. sjbraun - May 20, 2010

Peter’s blog, stories, and cooking do sound enticing – I will have to stop by.
And this recipe looks delish! I love that you subbed with what you had, and it looks like it came out great. Love how nice your home-grated carrots look too.

Here’s my contribution:

Aww. . . thanks for noticing the carrots. I was actually quite proud of how nicely even they came out. 😀

And your cupcakes are AWESOME!

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