Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tarragon: An Herb a Day

Tarragon is one of those herbs that isn't as well known as say, basil, parsley, or cilantro, but it is really beautiful and a little bit goes a long way.  When I was thinking about how to use tarragon, I really wanted to try to create something completely new.  I was a little nervous making this dish because we were eating with friends and it was brand new to me.  But it turned out fantastic and was really delicious.  This is Tarragon Chicken and Dumplings:

Tarragon Chicken and Dumplings

Take a few sprigs of tarragon and strip them of the leaves.  Chop the leaves finely.

All you need to know about making dumplings is that it is really similar to making biscuit dough.  In fact, I have even used canned Pillsbury biscuits as dumplings in the past.  Although that is incredibly simple, the dumpling recipe I am sharing is super light and makes a fluffy, flavorful dumpling.  

In a bowl, combine 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, and the tarragon.

To the bowl, add 2 TBSP of melted unsalted butter and stir the mixture to create a crumbly consistency.

Add 1/2 cup of warm water and stir until the dough has just come together.  Tip: the less you work the dough, the fluffier the dumpling will be!

Set the dough aside and chop 4 carrots, 1 stalk of celery, and 1 medium onion.  Add veggies to a medium-high heat dutch oven with 1 TBSP of olive oil preheated.  Saute the vegetables and add a pinch of salt and pepper.

After a veggies begin to soften, add 2 diced uncooked chicken breasts and heat through until the chicken has become white on all sides, but not completely cooked through.  Add the zest of one lemon, 1 bay leaf, and 4 cups of chicken stock.  At this point, I also added 1 tsp of ground black pepper, but that is optional.

While the soupiness comes together and the chicken is cooking through, flatten out your dumplings and cut into squares.  I like cutting them small because they really puff really puff up.  

Add the dumplings to the soup.  Woah! So fluffy!!!  Cover the chicken and dumplings with the lid and simmer for about 20 minutes.  The flour in the dumplings will thicken the soup and you will have a wonderfully, comforting bowl of goodness.

In the last few minutes of cooking, add 1/2 a cup of frozen peas and remove the bay leaf.  Allow the peas to heat through and devour.  The tarragon and the lemon zest add this really fresh flavor that brings out the veggies, and the pepper adds a zing that will leave you wanting more and more and more!  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

1 cup of flour
2 tbsp of chopped tarragon
2 tbsp of melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup of water
1 tbsp of olive oil
4 carrots peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 chicken breasts uncooked
4 cups of chicken stock
zest of 1 lemon
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup of frozen english peas
salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, tarragon, and butter.  Add the water and mix until just combined.

Heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add 1 TBSP of olive oil.  Dice carrots, onion, and celery and add it to the pan.  Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the diced, raw chicken and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, lemon zest, and bay leaf.

Pat out the dumpling dough and cut into squares.  Add the dumplings to the chicken broth and allow the soup to simmer covered for 20 minutes.  Add the peas and heat through.

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