Sometimes, you can look at the ingredient list of a recipe and know the dish will be a winner. It would have to be with X, Y, and Z perfect, rich ingredients, right? This dish was one of those, one of those love-at-first sight dishes.
With an ingredients list of heavy cream, chicken breasts, two types of French mustards, and a bit of lemon and herbs, I knew immediately that I’d like this dish I found while scouring Pinterest. I took the recipe and changed it up a bit by adding a healthy portion of fresh tarragon leaves for an herbaceous, slightly sweet earthiness. I doubled the sauce, because, obviously, if it has cream in it, I want extra! I brined the chicken for a tender, juicy texture. What resulted was sheer magic and a lot of moaning at the dinner table.
This creamy tarragon-Dijon chicken with leeks dish is so rich and full of flavor, yet takes only a few minutes to prepare. You can use whichever chicken parts you like, but we used brined whole chicken breasts. I highly recommend against boneless skinless anything, but if you must, you must. Using bone-in chicken breasts will take a bit longer to cook, but they’re so worth it .
The tarragon adds a luxurious flavor that’s balanced by the subtlety of the Dijon and whole grain mustards. The leeks provide a sweet oniony flavor without being overbearing. It really all combines to just knock your socks off.
Though I doubled the original recipe’s sauce, it was not saucy whatsoever, so if you’re looking for drown-your-plate-in-jus, double my ingredients, and you’ll be set.
Creamy Tarragon-Dijon Chicken with Leeks
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 large bone-in chicken breasts , whole, brined (use your favorite brine or check out this "quick brine" that I love)
- 2 large leeks , finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 8-9 ounces cream (250 milliliters)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (Maille is best)
- 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon , chopped
- salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt, keeping in mind the brined chicken will be saltier than unbrined chicken)
- whole leaf tarragon for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375º. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Season with pepper (and salt, if you did NOT brine). Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken carefully in skillet and cook 5 minutes on each side. Place skillet in oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.*
- Remove skillet from oven and remove chicken to plate. Add leeks and garlic to the skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Cook about 5 minutes, or until softened. Reduce heat to low to medium-low.
- Add cream and mustards and let simmer gently about 3 minutes.
- Add chicken, lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon and let cook for about 1-2 minutes. Serve with rice, pasta, or grain of your choice. Garnish with fresh tarragon and lemon slices.
- Note: *If you're using boneless skinless chicken breasts, you can skip the oven step. The chicken can cook all the way through in the skillet.