Stick it in my mouth: Buttery leeks and tarragon chicken

I love food.  I love food SO MUCH, and, cooking it is one of my favorite things to do with Ben.  I’m the cook that throws things together with little thought (or recipe), and usually makes it all work.  Ben is the methodical one, thinking of timing and combinations, and analyzing the result critically.  Our food budget is ridiculous, because we decide that what we REALLY need are oyster mushrooms…and probably some truffle oil, too.  There are worse things we could be spending a lot of money on, though.  Like, you know, crack.

One of my September goals is to figure out how to keep up the fancy eating and co-op food, while being more mindful of a budget.  We’ll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, I’m also aiming to try new recipes and avoid getting stuck in a culinary rut.  Enter Lynn!  I can’t recommend The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper (written by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift) enough.  The recipes are simple, satisfying takes on basic ingredients.  We made a killer dinner this week, worthy of sharing: Roasted Tomatoes, Cucumber Salad, and (drumroll, please) Buttery Leeks With Tarragon Chicken.  And, it was all easy and relatively fast to cook.

Roasted Tomatoes (Serves 2 people that eat a lot)

These take the longest- about an hour and a half.  I halved six Roma tomatoes and put them in an oiled baking dish.  I sprinkled salt, pepper, and chile powder on them, and brushed a little olive oil over them.  Bake at 350 until they are shriveled (an hour to an hour and a half).

Tarragon Chicken Breasts with Buttery Leeks (Serves 2)

As you probably know, capitol “T” indicades Tablespoons, and lowercase “t” is for teaspoon.

1 C. finely sliced leeks

1 C. chicken broth

2 T. unsalted butter

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt & pepper

2-3 oyster mushrooms (you could go without- but they are SO good), thinly sliced

1 t. lemon juice

1 T. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

1.) Place the leeks in a large skillet with the chicken broth and half of the butter.  Cook at a gentle boil over medium heat until they are tender, and the broth has boiled down a bit.  It takes about 8 minutes.  

2.) Sprinkle some salt & pepper on both sides of the chicken breasts.  Place them over the simmering leeps, spooning some of the leeks over the top.  Put in the oyster mushrooms.  Cover tightly, and reduce the heat to low.  It takes about 10 minutes for the chicken to cook, depending on how large the breasts are.  

3.)  When the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a platter.  Increase the heat under the leek/mushroom mixture to high, and stir in the lemon juice, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and the fresh tarragon.  Season to taste.  Pour the leek sauce over the chicken and serve.   

[Note: When we made this, we waited to add the oyster mushrooms until step 3.  I recommend doing it in step 2.]

Cucumber Salad

Place some or all of the following in with your sliced cucumbers (improvise!): Red onion, dill, fresh basil, garlic.  Dress with salt & pepper, and a little greek yogurt or sour cream.

All three of these together make me excited for fall and winter cooking!

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