This recipe for Poached Chicken Breast with a Light Tarragon Cream Sauce gives you a perfectly cooked, flavorful chicken breast that is not only delicious but low-fat as well. A surprising use of grapes adds a delicious sweetness.
How to make Poached Chicken Breast with a Light Tarragon Cream Sauce
Going through some cookbooks, as I often do, I saw a recipe that sounded tasty for poached chicken breasts which used not only heavy cream but a heavy cream veloute sauce. Always trying to watch my fats and calories, I thought I could do this, quicker, easier and lighter; so I did.
This is my version of Poached Chicken Breast with a Light Tarragon Cream Sauce which uses very little fat and 2% milk, yet it has all the richness and flavor of a full cream sauce. The addition of the flame-red grapes helped round out the dish and added a sweetness to the sauce creating a very nice balance of flavors.
"The addition of flame-red grapes rounds out the flavors and adds a delicious sweetness to the dish"
How to Properly Poach a Chicken Breast
Watch my video for the inside scoop on poaching chicken and making Poached Chicken with Light Tarragon Cream Sauce
When poaching a chicken breast, you want to do it gently, in well-flavored simmering, not boiling, water.
Boiling water will make the breast tough, simmering water will cook it gently allowing it to remain tender and juicy.
My much-preferred bite.
Once the breast is mostly cooked, about 5 minutes per side, turn the stove off; cover the pan, and allow it to just sit in the hot liquid for about 10 minutes to finish cooking and absorb the flavors from the cooking liquid.
Poached Chicken Breast with a Light Tarragon Cream Sauce
- 4 about 5 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 small or 1 large leek bottoms and top separated and reserved (wash well to remove mud, sand, and grit), white part thinly sliced, if large cut in half then slice
- 1 shallot about 1 tablespoon minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup chicken broth preferably homemade or low sodium
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
- ½ cup red flame grapes halved
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- For the poaching liquid
- Green tips of the leek cut into pieces
- 2 sprigs fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 dried bay leaves
- Dash basil leaves
- ½ to 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 whole peppercorns
- Start the poaching liquid: In a saucepan bring to a simmer the water, with all of the other poaching ingredients. Let simmer (not boil) for 10 minutes.
- Poach the chicken breasts: Once the poaching liquid is fully flavored, add the chicken breasts. Continue to simmer, not boil, for 5 minutes, turn and poach 5 minutes more. Turn off the heat; cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes more.
- Meanwhile: In a small saucepan, heat the oil and butter together. Over low heat, wilt the leeks and shallot; saute 5 minutes, then add the chicken broth. Allow to reduce by ½. Mix the cornstarch with the milk and add to the chicken broth, bring to a simmer and allow to thicken. If too thick, add a little broth or milk, if too thin add some more cornstarch to milk or water and add until the right consistency is reached. Turn off the heat and stir in the tarragon and grapes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Remove the breast from the cooking liquid, slice, and spoon the sauce over.