Pan Seared Chicken Breast with tarragon mustard sauce

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Sometimes, simple is best.  I have to remind myself of that from time to time.  A grilled ribeye with just salt and pepper is quite near perfection.  Does a seared scallop really need much more than a touch of seasoning to bring out it’s sweet flavor?  Today, now more than ever, the quality of ingredients available to most of us is astounding and we have to remember to let those ingredients shine.

Such is the case for a chicken breast.  It’s probably the most popular staple protein used, yet we try desperately to doctor it up so it won’t be the same boring 4 or 5 recipes over and over again.  The main culprit is that most people buy it without skin or bones, which has it’s place if used for chicken parmesan or stuffed cordon bleu, but by forgoing those two things flavor is lost.  So the other day when my daughter asked for chicken, I was reminded of all these things, and skin on chicken it was.  Enjoy!

I started by seasoning both sides of skin on, boneless breasts with some kosher salt then let it sit in the refridgerator for 1 hour.  I only used 3 breasts as we were short one mouth this night.  The sauce is enough for four though.

After an hour, I seasoned both sides with fresh black pepper and let it sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

I added enough canola oil to coat the bottom of a fry pan about 1/4 cup and put it over medium high heat.

I added the chicken one at a time skin side down, dragging them in the oil as I layed them in.  This allows a good layer of oil between the pan and the chicken and results in a crisp skin that releases easily.  I cooked then for about 3 minutes/side then transferred them to a small roasting pan and finished them in a 400 degree oven for 7 minutes.  I tented to keep warm while the sauce finished.

I poured off the grease from the fry pan and deglazed it with 1 cup chicken stock and 1/4 cup white wine and let it reduce by 1/2.

I added 2 tablespoons dijon mustard along with 3 tablespoons heavy cream and simmered until it had thickened about 4 minutes.  I finished the sauce by whisking in 2 tablespoons cold butter and stirring in 3 teaspoons of fresh chopped tarragon.

And this was the final result.  I served it with a rustic pancetta hash and asparagus tips.  Wine suggestions for this came from Karen Stewart at Four Brix Winery.  She suggested a light Pinot Noir or a Viognier to compliment.  Check them out-Amazing wines.  Enjoy!

Pan Seared Chicken Breast with tarragon mustard sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This simple preparation yields a crispy skin while keeping the meat moist. The tanginess of the mustard and slight anise flavor from the tarragon creates a perfect companion.
Recipe type: Main, Entree
Serves: 4
  • 4 small boneless chicken breasts with skin still on
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 3 teaspoons fresh tarragon
  1. Season the chicken on both sides with kosher salt. Let sit in the refridgerator for 1 hour uncovered. After 1 hour season both sides with fresh pepper and let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the oil to a wide fry pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken skin side down, dragging each piece in the oil as you lay them in to make sure there is a good coating of oil between the pan and the chicken. Cook for 3 minutes per side. Remove them to a small pan and finish them in a 400 degree oven for 6-7 minutes.
  3. Pour off all the grease from the pan and add the chicken stock and wine to deglaze. Heat over medium high and reduce by ½. Add the dijon and cream and simmer until thickened about 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter and then stir in the tarragon and serve with the chicken.










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