If you’re looking for a quick chicken dinner this is the recipe for you.
The tarragon, cream and leeks make for a wonderful trio of delicate flavours and it rustles up in just 30 minutes!
When it comes to cooking I have two gears. Quick and easy or, an all-out masterpiece that requires the whole day to prepare. I’m an all or nothing gal.
Quick and easy recipes are hard to come by though. I think it’s because too often they are created by someone who knows the recipe inside out and has all the ingredients, pre-measured and prepped. Here’s looking at you Jaime Oliver, 30-minute-meals-my-arse.
A little while ago, I was approached by representatives of Hello Fresh, the recipe box delivery service aimed at novice cooks, with an invite to try out their recipe catalogue. I’ve been a Hello Fresh customer before and liked the results, so happily I agreed. If you’ve not tried HelloFresh yet, you can get 10% off your first box with via this link.
Rather than send me a Hello Fresh box, we agreed I’d buy the ingredients from my local grocery shops (shout outs to those independents below) and follow the recipe from the Hello fresh website.
This review, therefore, focuses on the ease of the recipe to follow and how it tasted, not the delivery part of the service. So here’s the recipe, plus how I got on with it:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 10 new potatoes
- 2 leeks
- 1/2 bunch of tarragon
- 200ml of liquid chicken stock
- 240ml of cream (single or double)
- Olive oil
- Flora (or butter)
- Preheat your oven to 200°C and boil your kettle.
- Put the chicken breasts, skin-side up, on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper then roast in your oven until golden and cooked through, 16-18 mins. IMPORTANT: The chicken is cooked when it is no longer pink in the middle.
- Meanwhile, chop the new potatoes into 2cm chunks (no need to peel) and pop into a saucepan with a pinch of salt. Pour on the boiling water and put the pan on high heat. Boil until tender, 12-15 mins, then drain into a colander. Return to the pan and add the Flora and stir to melt.
- Trim the root and dark green leafy part from the leek. Halve lengthways then slice widthways.
- Pick the tarragon leaves from their stalks and roughly chop (discard the stalks).
- Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring, until soft, 5-6 mins. Add the stock. Bring to the boil, stir to dissolve the stock powder, then reduce the heat to low.
- Stir the cream and half the tarragon into the leek mixture. Remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Slice the chicken. Serve the potatoes alongside the chicken. Top with the leek and tarragon sauce and finish with a sprinkling of remaining tarragon.
Pat the breasts dry with a tissue before popping them in the oven.
Rest the breasts for 10 minutes on a warm plate before slicing.
So the first thing to say is their catalogue is vast, with close to 200 recipes to choose from. I was drawn to the crispy chicken with new potatoes and a creamy, leek and tarragon sauce because chicken is something I tend to eat most weeks and the prep time was just 20 minutes.
The first stop on my ingredients shop was my favourite family butchers R.C. Seckers, on Richardson Road in Hove. Their meat and poultry are always of the utmost freshness and quality and whilst you may pay a bit extra for it, you will, unlike the supermarkets promise, actually, taste the difference.
Saying all this, I do shop in the supermarkets for convenience or when I’m on a tight budget too. I’ve just given up buying chicken there. Waitrose is normally pretty good quality for most things but every time I’ve bought chicken breasts there lately it’s been so tough I’ve had lock-jaw after chomping on it. So I’ve vowed not to do it anymore.
Four, fresh, organic, free-range chicken breasts from Devon were approximately £9 at my butcher last week, which works out £2.25 each (not a lot for organic produce really) and I was really happy with how they tasted in this recipe.
If you want to be sure whether your chicken is fresh, check the flesh is pink with white fat and springs back when you press down on it. Avoid any packets that look grey or yellow (unless it’s corn-fed) and sitting in lots of liquid.
Whilst I was waiting in line to be served at the butchers my eyes scanned the walls and I noticed a sign that said something along the lines of, reduce single-use-plastic, bring your own tupperware. Brilliant. They also offered the option for paper packaging instead of plastic (for 50p more). Perfect, if like me, I hadn’t thought to bring my own packaging that day.
Next door, is the wonderful Gratitude Tree Grocers, where I picked up my veggies, two leeks and the new potatoes. What I like about shopping here is you can pick your items individually and choose exactly how much you need, instead of having to buy a whole sack of potatoes bagged up unnecessarily in plastic. Again, another thing Waitrose does that gets my goat.
Ok, back to the kitchen now… one of the things I really appreciated about this Hello Fresh recipe were the images that accompanied the written instructions.
All too often a recipe tells you to do something like “sauté the onions” and unless you are an experienced cook you won’t necessarily know what that means or know how to do it. So then you have to go and Google “how to sauté onions”.
I hate the idea that people will be put off from cooking because of fancy language but these guys don’t do this.
To bring this into the context of this recipe, I’ve always chopped my leeks in rings, I think because that’s how my mum always did it, and whilst they look lovely that way, I’ve realised they take a bit longer to soften in a pan.
The Hello Fresh recipe instructed me to halve the leeks lengthways then slice widthways, and now I see why. They softened down in half the time.
Another thing I’ve also done is to cube my chicken and pan fry it. However, this recipe called for the chicken breast to be baked whole in the oven, and afterwards. The difference this makes is the chicken retains far more of its moisture and doesn’t dry out.
A couple of the tips missing from the recipe, that I found helped the second time I tried it:
- Pat the breasts dry with a tissue before popping them in the oven.
- Rest the breasts for 10 minutes on a warm plate before slicing. This stops the juices running out the meat and makes it a lot easier to slice too. (Obviously providing you have a sharp knife).
- Be sure to ask the butcher for skin-on breasts, I didn’t do this so my finished product is missing the crispy skin!
Overall my thoughts were:
The recipe is nice and simple, Hello Fresh ranked it level 2 in difficulty but for me, it’s probably easier than that. Timings were really accurate and once you’ve done this twice you can do it pretty much blindfolded.
The flavour was delicate but tasty and whilst I cook a very similar version of it, with lots more butter (instead of marg) and white wine (instead of stock), which gives it a fuller flavour – this version is obviously healthier!
Finally, it looks great on the plate without too much skill needed in the art of plating.
If you like the sound of this recipe and my additional tips please let me know by clicking the heart button at the bottom of the post. Your love keeps me blogging x
*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hello Fresh but I only endorse brands on my blog that I would use myself and a review is always 100% honest regardless.
**Header image from HelloFresh.