Chicken and tarragon are a classic combination in French cuisine: Poulet à l’Estragon. In this recipe the chicken breast is seasoned with paprika and served with a sauce made from chicken stock, white wine, shallots, and tarragon. The tarragon sauce was nice, although I may have used a bit too much tarragon as it overpowered the chicken just a bit.
I wanted to experiment a bit with cooking chicken breast sous-vide at a lower temperature than I tried previously, because I tend to like both meat and fish when they are ‘medium rare’ and the nice thing about sous-vide is that you can cook chicken medium rare as well as pasteurize it. With pasteurizing I mean that it is heated such that so much of any possible salmonella contamination has been killed that it is safe to eat (a 10 million to 1 reduction, meaning that 9,999,999 out of every 10,000,000 salmonella bacteria have been killed). The lowest temperature to pasteurize chicken is 57C/135F. At this temperature, it takes 3 hours to pasteurize a chicken breast (as long as it’s not thicker than 2.5 cm/1 inch, otherwise it will take longer). The chicken breast was indeed more juicy with a ‘smoother’ texture than the chicken breast cooked at 60C/140F (which was slightly flaky). Here’s what I did.
4 single chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
120 ml (1/2 cup) homemade chicken stock
2 shallots, chopped
clarified butter or olive oil