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Poached Chicken in Tarragon Cream Sauce with Riz Pilaf

This luscious meal includes all those ingredients we love – butter, heavy cream, chicken & tarragon. Right there, 4 ingredients and you know it’s going to be good!

As y’all probably know by now, chicken breasts is my least favorite part of the chicken. It nearly always cooks dry so I usually love thigh meat and chicken wings. But there 2 exceptions, either cooking the breasts as paillards on high temperature or poaching them. In this case we jazz up carton chicken stock with some veggies and herbs to give it a fresh flavor and poach the chicken until just cooked.

Slice up against the grain at a diagonal which guarantees none of those long stringy fibers as we chew. The velouté sauce which just as the name suggests is pure velvet with its rich creamy texture & fresh tarragon drizzles atop the chicken is lovely.

Here’s one for company, or just dinner at home. I can vouch for one thing, kids will love this too! I taught this one to my high schoolers for summer camp and they raved!

This is one recipe where the crème de la crème is quite simply, the crème!



Recipe for:

Poached Chicken in Tarragon Cream Sauce with Riz Pilaf

Shopping List:

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 carrot

1 yellow onion

3-4 sprigs of thyme

1 tbs fresh tarragon

8 cups chicken stock

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

Veloute sauce:

3 tbs butter

3 tbs all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken stock, reserved

½ cup heavy cream


Carrot: Peel with a peeler and cut into 1/2" circles.

Yellow onion: Peel, discard ends and roughly chop.


In a stock pot, combine the chicken, vegetables, tarragon, salt, pepper & stock and bring to a boil over high heat.Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for approx. 15 minutes so the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

Set the chicken aside and cover with a kitchen cloth to keep warm.

Strain the stock in a sieve, discarding the residue. Measure 2 cups of the stock & 1 cup of stock for the sauce - keeping these separate. Return the chicken breasts to any remaining stock to keep warm.

Veloute sauce: 

Use a heavy bottom pan and a whisk handy to make the sauce.

To the pan, pour 1 cup of the stock and reduce on high heat until only 2-3 tbs remain. Watch carefully so it doesn’t all evaporate!

In a separate sauce pan, melt the butter on medium heat and add the flour. With a whisk until mixture in a pale yellow – approx 30-45 seconds.

Add 2 cups of the stock and whisk until the sauce comes to a boil. Once it boils, whisk for about 10 seconds vigorously.

Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring regularly until the sauce is the consistency of heavy cream.

Chop ½ tbs fresh tarragon. Add the chicken stock reduction, fresh tarragon and bring the sauce back to a boil.

On low heat, simmer again for about 10 minutes stirring regularly until the sauce is the consistency of heavy cream.

Remove from heat, add the heavy cream, stir and taste and adjust seasonings.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid & slice diagonally 1/4" thick slices. Serve on a platter and pour the sauce over the chicken.

Recipe for

Riz Pilaf

Shopping list

1-1/2 cup Thai Jasmine long grain rice

Yellow onion, to yield 1 cup chopped. 2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs butter 2 tsp salt 3 cups water (preferably hot)


Onion: Peel, skin and discard the ends, Chop the onion and measure 1 cup.


Heat olive oil and butter in a deep pan until the butter has melted.

Add the onions and salt and sauté until the onions have softened – approx. 5-7 minutes.

Add the rice and sauté to coat with oil.

Continue to sauté until the rice is well sautéed for the next 2-3 minutes.

Next add water and bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce the heat to low.

Stir off and on so the rice does not stick to the bottom. Cook until all water absorbed for about 12-15 minutes.

Remove from heat, and let sit covered about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to serve.




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