Essential Pépin: Chicken in tarragon sauce

This is the second post in my Essential Pépin series.  To celebrate the release of Jacques Pépin’s new cookbook, Essential Pépin, Thomas Allen are challenging Canadian home chefs and bloggers to cook up their own French meals with recipes from the book with the chance to win a KitchenAid® Artisan Series Stand Mixer, courtesy of KitchenAid® Canada!

In his more than sixty years as a chef, Jacques Pépin has earned a reputation as a champion of simplicity. His recipes are classics. They find the shortest, surest route to flavour, avoiding complicated techniques. Now, in a book that celebrates his life in food, the world’s most famous cooking teacher winnows his favourite recipes from the thousands he has created, streamlining them even further.  Essential Pépin spans the many styles of Jacques’s cooking: homey country French, haute cuisine, fast food Jacques-style, and fresh contemporary American dishes. Many of the recipes are globally inspired, from Mexico, across Europe, or the Far East. This truly is the essential Pépin.

I already experimented with the composed salad with goat cheese, greens and caramelized pecans a couple of weeks ago, knowing I was planning to make all three of the Pépin dishes for a dinner we had last Friday night.  I am pleased to report that the salad works just as well with caramelized almond slivers and went down a treat with our guests 🙂

The second course was brilliantly simple: Chicken in tarragon sauce.  Chicken gently poached in vermouth (we used Pisco as a substitute – imagine, we were out of vermouth!!!), stock, onions and herbs, then served with a cream reduction of the poaching liquid. I made this in about 30 minutes, actually whilst the guests were there watching – it was no trouble at all.  The result? A wonderfully complex sauce that needed nothing else on the plate – the flavours truly stood up on their own. I served new potatoes just to soak up a little of the sauce but really, it needed nothing more. A true French classic, reminiscent of what you would get at a bistro.  I’ll definitely be making this one again, and trying different variations of flavours in the sauce.

Stay tuned for one more instalment of the Pépin menu soon and read more about the contest on Facebook.

*Did you enter my giveaway for a beautiful, hand-painted custom tile or glassware? Contest closes Tuesday November 22nd at 6pm EST. I will draw the winner using Random.org and announce the winner on Wednesday November 23rd. Open to residents of Canada and the US only – sorry international readers but…..

** Over on Food Bloggers of Canada, we’re giving away a copy of Clotilde Dusoulier’s Chocolate and Zucchini – open to readers anywhere in the world! Head on over there to read my writeup of Clotilde’s recent talk on food blogging in Toronto!

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30 Responses to Essential Pépin: Chicken in tarragon sauce

  1. penny aka jeroxie November 21, 2011 at 05:58 #

    chicken poached in vermouth? I do have some leftover. must try

  2. Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen November 21, 2011 at 07:51 #

    This dish sounds delicious with the chicken poached in vermouth. Love the tarragon cream sauce too. Jacques Pepin always does such a marvelous job. I’ll check out his new book. I have almost all of his others.

  3. Boulder Locavore November 21, 2011 at 08:08 #

    This sounds perfect Mardi! I love Jacques Pepin. I’ve loved watching his TV program and own the series of him cooking with his daughter. What a fun challenge for you!

  4. Cher November 21, 2011 at 08:22 #

    You’ve captured one of my favorite week night meals… Although, I would never have thought of poaching the chicken in Vermouth.

  5. Mr. Neil November 21, 2011 at 08:24 #

    It was my Chilean Pisco supply that made the difference, methinks… 😉

  6. Kiri W. November 21, 2011 at 09:53 #

    Sounds simple and perfect – nothing overwhelming, just great basic flavors.

  7. Belinda @zomppa November 21, 2011 at 10:48 #

    A classic, for sure! Beautiful!

  8. Helene November 21, 2011 at 11:21 #

    I made the salad for the contest and it was delicious. Can’t wait to try the chicken. I love simple, tasty recipe.

  9. Cucina49 November 21, 2011 at 16:43 #

    There is a lovely simplicity to this recipe–I will definitely try it when I have tarragon again!

  10. Paula November 21, 2011 at 17:55 #

    I am going to make this chicken! Yes I am 🙂

    P.S. Your photo is so bright and cheery, just what we need at this time of year. Thank you!

  11. K A B L O O E Y November 21, 2011 at 21:48 #

    Sounds very nice. I used to make chicken with tarragon sauce a lot, but with either mushrooms or white grapes added. Yours (Jacques’) looks simple and lovely.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite November 27, 2011 at 08:47 #

      I couldn’t believe how easy it was – I made it in the kitchen with guests there and they didn’t even notice it was so fast!

  12. Vicki @ WITK November 22, 2011 at 20:31 #

    This looks so good, Pepin is such a genious! I’m always looking for more chicken recipes, thanks for sharing!

  13. Kim Bee November 22, 2011 at 23:59 #

    I love this chicken. It just looks so divine. I recently joined the FBC and am so happy to have found them. I was feeling pretty alone out there. So nice to have a place to connect with other Canadians.

  14. Liz November 23, 2011 at 07:12 #

    Simple and delicious! Jacques Pepin does not disappoint. Love this dish…and congrats on your Top 9!!!! xo

  15. Donna November 26, 2011 at 19:12 #

    This looks like a must-make light yet sophisticated dinner for my “belle-mère”‘s visit…reminiscent of a poulet veronique but without the grapes…Am I missing something or is it possible to obtain the recipe?..Thank you for any enlightenment in this regard!!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite November 27, 2011 at 08:44 #

      It is definitely light and sophisticated yet simple at the same time! We are not allowed to publish the recipe for this contest but if you click on the link to the contest page, I think you can see the recipe there,

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