Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lemon-Tarragon Chicken

Last night, after enjoying the last of the Pork Chops with Mushrooms & Thyme, we peered into the freezer in search of dinner for tonight & tomorrow night. We found the last 2 chicken breasts and put them in the refrigerator to thaw. SP left me in charge of deciding how to cook them.My first thought was breaded chicken. Breaded chicken is one of my favorites. But honestly, I didn't feel like dealing with breading chicken! Cutting the chicken into smaller pieces (so you can have more breading!), dipping in bread crumbs then egg then bread crumbs, browning in a skillet, transferring to paper towels to drain, then baking until done. That seemed too labor intensive! Not to mention the raw chicken cubes, the raw eggs, the raw chicken dripping raw eggs and then dripping bread crumbs that had touched raw chicken & eggs... all the plates and utensils that touched raw chicken and eggs... Yes, we're a little paranoid about raw chicken & egg germs and I just didn't feel like dealing with the Clorox wipes followed by hot soapy water clean up of possibly contaminated surfaces.Then I remembered that in grad school, a favorite meal was to squeeze a lemon over some chicken and sprinkle on some tarragon then bake. Mmmm. Lemon. One of my favorite flavors.

Did I mention that in grad school, my roommate and I had a lemon tree in our yard? It was wonderful. Sometimes I really, really wish I still lived in a climate that allowed me to have a lemon tree in my yard (grad school was in Monterey, CA).

We always have lemons in our refrigerator, only here in Pittsburgh SP buys them in bulk at Costco, we don't pluck them off a tree in the yard. We use a lot of lemons. SP uses them every day in his iced tea (he drinks lots of iced tea, year round). We use them a lot for roast chicken. We make lemon simple syrup to flavor water and iced tea. And lemons are key ingredients in some of our favorite dessert treats (madeleines, citrus sables, lemon pound cake). Not to mention the lemon martinis that SP makes - they have fresh lemon and limoncello.
I decided to cook the chicken this afternoon. A bit before lunch, I checked it to be sure the breasts were thawed. I gathered the tarragon, salt & pepper, and a lemon. I grated the lemon and squeezed the juice -- and wished SP was here because he is usually the lemon grater/squeezer!! He does a terrific job of getting all the juice squeezed out.I plopped the chicken breasts on a foil lined cookie sheet, sprinkled on salt, pepper, tarragon, and grated lemon, flipped them over and did the same to the other side, then drizzled some lemon juice on top of each breast. Then I baked them at 350 for 40 minutes.
Of course after removing them from the oven, I cut the thicker one in half to make sure they were cooked. They are cooling now. For dinner we will have spinach salad with lemon-tarragon chicken on top and dinner rolls on the side.

There's a little bit of lemon juice left -- I am hoping there's enough to make some lemon vinaigrette for on the salad. Lemon makes almost anything taste even yummier...


  1. Looks delicious! Keep away from dogs, though =)

  2. Tarragon. I love tarragon!

    Ooo.. And lemon martinis? Is there a recipe?!

  3. Usually he makes up the martini as he goes, but the basic idea is:

    juice from 1 orange or 1 lemon or combination
    1 shot vodka
    1 shot limoncello
    1 shot peach schnappes
    1 shot triple sec (or other orange flavored liquor)
    Shake with ice, pour in martini glass. Sometimes we rim the glass with sugar or sugar/lemon zest.