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Herb garden flourishes, inspiring tarragon recipe

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Oh my goodness, do I have tarragon this year. It has exploded into what I would call a bush of tarragon.

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That is okay though because it makes me really feel like a good gardener, even though I’m not. I am just lucky. 

Would you believe that I have plants finally coming up that I planted a couple of years ago and thought they were dead? I guess with all of this rain, they finally decided to raise their lovely heads. It is so amazing.  I truly feel blessed.

I also have cilantro and dill that came up this year, and I didn’t have any luck with either of them last year — that’s in addition to garlic and chives. 

I want to tell you this story.  My husband, who grew up on a farm in South Dakota, knows his corn, wheat and tractors very well. However, when it comes to my flowers and herbs I am afraid to say, they all must look like weeds to him.  Therefore, he is very judicious with the weed killer and the weed eater — you can also include the lawn mower in there, too.  About three years ago, he went wild near my herb garden with the weed killer, Roundup. I saw him near the garden with his little wand, but I couldn’t get there fast enough or yell loud enough to get him to stop before it was too late. He is very generous with his little wand and swings it far and wide, so wide that it was too late for my chives and garlic.

It is now a joke in our family because this is more than 40 years of having plants mowed down or killed with a chemical.I really should know by now.  I think we have finally come to some understanding that he cannot go near my herbs without me.

So you see, this year I really feel fortunate and blessed that I actually have some of those very herbs returning to life. I am so excited to be able to walk among them and smell their heavenly aroma. Maybe my sweet husband did me a favor? Who knows.

I have a wonderful recipe that I just prepared before writing this column. I give you:

Creamy Tarragon-Dijon Chicken

4 regular chicken breasts or 2 large cut in half

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 onion, diced

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup heavy ream

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, extra Dijon mustard for marinating chicken

1/4 cup or less white wine

2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon

Mix flour, salt and pepper together.; set aside.

Remove enough Dijon mustard from jar  and place in separate dish, to coat chicken on all sides. Place in plastic bag in refrigerator and let marinate at least 30 minutes.

Heat butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Meanwhile, coat chicken on both sides in flour mixture. Place in skillet and brown on both sides.  Cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.

Remove from skillet; set aside. Pour in white wine to deglaze the pan, then add mushrooms, garlic and onions; sauté until onions are clear.  Add in the 1 tbsp. of mustard, tarragon and cream; cook for about 5 minutes until it has thickened slightly.  Add in cooked chicken to coat it with the sauce. Drizzle the remaining sauce over chicken.

I served this with a green salad with fresh peaches, dried cranberries and toasted almonds, and a wonderful honey balsamic dressing. Enjoy, it’s delicious!

Lonnie Sundermeyer is a retired professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.