The redoubtable Mrs. E and I are pleased to be hosting a soirée tomorrow night. We will serve a Greek dinner for eight at 8:00. Our guests are all friends and two of them will have just returned from a fortnight at Lake Como where, I’m sure, they dined very well. So tomorrow’s menu, while not elaborate, is a little complicated. If only because of the bechamel. Consequently, cooking something involved tonight doesn’t sound like much fun.
Now, we could order out. But we’re very conscious of our middle-aged waistlines. Especially before a party. So what’s a guy to do? Take a page from the easy and elegant cookbook. Tonight’s dinner will be fashioned from a few things that are lying around and have to be used up: some defrosted chicken tenderloins, an open bottle of champagne and a shallot.
Chicken in a Tarragon, Champagne, Mustard and Shallot Sauce
4 good sized chicken tenders
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp of dijon mustard
1 glass of sparkling wine
1 TSP of milk or heavy cream
1 TSP of butter
1 tsp of dried tarragon
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 TBS of good quality Olive Oil.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet (I love using my grandmother’s cast iron skillet as it holds heat very well.) Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides and add to the skillet to brown on both sides over high heat. Remove to a plate.
Add the tarragon to the pan. Add the mustard and some more salt and pepper. When you notice the fragrance of the tarragon, deglaze the pan with the sparkling wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that have stuck to the pan. Add in the milk or cream and swirl in the butter. Cook for a moment over low heat to let the flavours meld. Add the chicken back into the sauce and turn to coat both sides. Heat through, plate and serve. Serves two with a hearty salad and a side dish like steamed broccoli or green beans as a side.