The perfect way to dress up a regular chicken breast is to soak it in this thick, luxurious cream sauce. This creamy mix of sweet and savory in every bite will wrap you up in a hug and take away every worry you have, even if just for a moment.
So, it wasn’t long ago that my brother brought to my attention that I’ve become that quintessential food blogger. You know, the kind that has to tell you their entire life story before they’ll tell you anything about the food they’re supposed to be telling you about. In fact, most food blogs these days have a “Jump To Recipe” button so that the person visiting the page can skip past all of the irrelevant story-telling leading up to the recipe and just get right down to business. Even as someone who writes a blog with recipes (and other crap), I am so, so guilty of using this button when I visit other websites.
I don’t have one of these buttons. I tell myself that people like to read the stuff I peddle on this site and appreciate my witty-repartee and silly commentary about life. Nonetheless, I understand I can be a little long-winded. And I can appreciate that some people just want the actual recipe.
So we’ll try something new here: I’m just gonna give it to you this time. Well, I’m gonna tell you a quick (maybe) story of where this recipe came from, and then I’ll just give it to ya. Promise. Pinky promise.
The first time I visited my college roommate at her home with her family, her mom made us dinner. I was a little nervous because I can be a picky eater and I’m not a great liar. It’s something about my face that can’t hide what I actually think and feel. Sue me. Anyway, when we all sat down at the table, her mom had already plated the meal and this worried me to some degree because, sometimes, if it’s a new food, I will only take a little bit so I don’t have to commit to a full serving and show that I don’t like something. I was also #impressed because my mom served our dinner family style when I was growing up, so this felt a little extra fancy, although it wasn’t that surprising because I already thought Sarah was a little extra and fancy.
For dinner, she served green beans and this chicken in a thick, luxurious cream sauce over a bed of white rice. The plate looked good, but, like I said, I was nervous because what if I didn’t like it? This wasn’t like my first step-mom’s house where if you didn’t like something it was fair game to make a pb&j sandwich or eat cereal to respectfully opt out of a gross dinner. Like, the sauce was permeating the whole plate by the time I got to it. It was touching the beans and the rice and it was going to be a full-blown commitment to this. Plus, I’d driven all the way to Chicago by myself for the first time and sat in terrible traffic in Indiana (get it together, you armpit of America), and was, indeed, ready for dinner. I also wanted to be a gracious guest and I really wanted them to like me, and I didn’t want to offend anyone at the first shot out of the gate. The stakes were high, y’all. (lol, I’m cracking myself up here.)
I forget the exact story now that it’s been, like 10 years (oh my gah, how is that possible???), but the gist is that either she was an exchange student in France (?) or they had a family friend from France and this was the recipe shared with her. I heard this general story and was like Sweet, French food, haven’t had this before, let’s do it! and I took my first bite with trepidation. You know when you’re watching a movie with someone and you’ve seen it before but the person you’re with hasn’t seen it, and you know something big is about to happen and you decide you’re going to watch them and their reaction to the thing? Or, my favorite, when you’re at a wedding and you know you’re excited to see the bride for the first time but the real best part is to watch the reaction from the groom as he sees his bride for the first time? That’s what this felt like. I’m sure that no one was actually watching me to see if I would burst into tears like a groom on his wedding day, but that’s the type of hype I felt as I took my first bite.
You guys, when I tell you that I’m pretty sure I heard angels sing, I’m not exaggerating. Okay, maybe a little, but for real – it was delicious. I immediately had to tell myself, Katie, don’t turn into the Beast. You know what I’m talking about.
The long and short of it is that in the subsequent years of Sarah and I living together, her mom had written down some of their family recipes in a small recipe book for her and this was one I just had to have. I had it saved in my phone until I just knew how to make it by heart, all these years later. Our senior year of college, her mother, Emily, passed away. Whenever I make this meal, I always remember her and what an amazing spirit she had. She was so full of life and she fiercely and fully loved her family. To this day, I think of her often.
That’s another thing I love about food, you know? It’s actually something my husband recently pointed out to me. Food is one of the major ways I categorize memories. Food is something that makes me feel close to other people, it brings people together, and it creates a lasting memory, long after the meal is finished.
Another example: If you ask me and Jeff about our engagement trip to Puerto Rico years ago, how we remember it is different; he’ll tell you about the sights and the people, and I’ll tell you about the food and the context of it. Like, hey, did you know that the first and only time I’ve ever eaten KFC was in a drive-thru off a Puerto Rican highway on our way back after a long day on Culebra Island, where we ate the most amazing tacos in this little outside restaurant after touring the island in a Jeep and trying to find sea turtles. Remember that amazing pollo fricassee we ate in that tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant after our walking tour of Old San Juan? Food… it’s a memory-maker for me.
Okay, so that went on for a little bit… Here you go. Thanks for humoring me.
Oh, and if you have a recipe or dish/meal that brings back memories for you, drop me a note in the comments and tell me about it! I love hearing stories about how food helps you remember special moments, people and memories!
WW-Related Side note: I don’t have a ww-friendly version of this recipe. I’ve tried for the better part of this last year to try to find a way to “lighten” this up while keeping it the same texture and taste and I can’t swing it. So, after almost a year of trying, I have admitted defeat and have accepted that this is a full-fat/all-the-heavy-cream sort of meal and it’s just meant to stay that way for us. I’ve cut out the butter because that’s easy, but I can’t replicate the luxurious, satiny-smooth sauce without all of the heavy cream. Either decide to save points/use weeklies to eat this, or don’t do it. I have to lean fully into it or not do it at all; half-way just doesn’t work with this one for me. That’s my two-cents. However, if you happen to find a way, please let me know 🤣
Honey Tarragon Chicken
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast (cut into 1/2 in cubes)
- 2 shallots (minced)
- 1 tbsp butter (optional – can omit & substitute with non-stick spray or spray olive oil)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp fresh tarragon (dried tarragon is a fine substitute if you can't find fresh, just use probably 1/2 to 1 tsp of dried)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- Mince shallots and saute in butter/non-stick spray until translucent.
- Add diced chicken, which as been seasoned well with salt & pepper, to shallots and saute until it has been cooked through.
- Once chicken is cooked through, add honey. Add in tarragon. Stir to combine and incorporate.
- Add in heavy cream. Stir occasionally and allow cream to reduce so sauce can thicken.
- Serve over rice & enjoy!
- 22 WW Freestyle Smartpoints (Blue & Purple Plans 💙💜)
- 26 WW Smartpoints (Green Plan 💚)