Tarragon Chicken

Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of cooking in the crockpot. I know people love it, it’s easy, it’s convenient, blah, blah. However, I rarely find a crockpot recipe I actually like. That is – until I found this cookbook – The Gourmet Slow Cooker (http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/1580084893). This is actually one of those cookbooks that directs you to brown the meat and/or veggies before slow-cooking them. And browning increases the flavor, which actually results in GOOD crockpot recipes. Who knew? And this cookbook was so good that I bought the next two (Volume II and the Vegetarian cookbooks).

So, I’ve had some chicken thighs in the freezer for a couple of weeks, and the tarragon is growing like crazy in my herb garden… What do to? Make Tarragon Chicken, of course! We served it with bulgur, but you can serve it with rice or your favorite grain. As always, this was a winner!

Tarragon Chicken
Adapted from “The Gourmet Slow Cooker”
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (uses only about 2 Tbsp flour total for the coating)
1 tsp salt

6 skinless chicken thighs (about 24oz) or 3 large skinless chicken breasts (either bone-in or boneless, about 24oz for boneless)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp whipped butter

1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
8 sprigs tarragon
1 cup fat free half & half

Directions:
Combine flour and salt in a ziplock bag. Add chicken to the bag, shake to coat. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and add whipped butter and oil (or use a browning crockpot – like my Cuisinart multicooker).

Add the chicken and cook, turning once, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned on both sides. Using tongs, transfer to slow cooker (or, if you have a browning crockpot , then just remove the chicken until after the sauce is made, then put them back in).

Set the saute pan over medium-high heat and add the onion and 2 Tbsp flour. Saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Gradually add the wine, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the stock and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker and lay 4 sprigs of tarragon on top. Add water (about 1/2 cup) if your slow cooker cooks hot like mine does (this prevents all of your liquid from evaporating).

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the chicken is tender. Pour in the half & half and stir well. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes to heat thoroughly.

While the chicken finishes cooking, strip the leaves from the remaining 4 sprigs of tarragon and chop coarsely. Remove and discard the tarragon sprigs from the slow cooker and stir in the freshly chopped tarragon.

Divide the chicken and sauce among plates and serve immediately.

Nutritional info (thighs):
Calories: 231.2
Total Fat: 9.5 g
Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.5 g
Cholesterol: 87.8 mg
Sodium: 715.2 mg
Potassium: 148.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Sugars: 2.0 g
Protein: 22.2 g

Nutritional info (breasts):
Calories: 245.2
Total Fat: 6.7 g
Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.5 g
Cholesterol: 66.8 mg
Sodium: 537.2 mg
Potassium: 438.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Sugars: 2.0 g
Protein: 28.2 g

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