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Parchment-Baked Chicken with New Potatoes, Peas and Tarragon

Tarragon lends its sweet anise notes to the buttery juices of mild-tasting chicken breasts baked in parchment paper. Spring’s fresh English peas and newly harvested potatoes add substance and bright color to this simple, light and fresh dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz.  
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste 
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard 
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh tarragon 
  • 1 tsp. minced shallot 
  • 4 new potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch rounds 
  • 3/4 lb. English peas in their pods, shelled 
  • 4 Tbs. dry white wine 

Directions:

Using a flat meat pounder, pound each chicken breast half until flattened to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. Season the chicken breasts with the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper.

In a small bowl, stir together the butter, mustard, tarragon and shallot. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes more, then drain the vegetables well.

Cut four 12-by-15-inch rectangles of parchment paper. Lay 1 piece, with a long side facing you, on a work surface. Fold it in half crosswise. Crease about 1 inch on the three open sides of the fold. Using scissors, and cutting on the diagonal, trim off about 2 inches from the two open corners.

Unfold the parchment and center a chicken breast half on one side of the center fold. Layer the ingredients on top of the chicken: one-fourth of the butter mixture, one-fourth of the potato slices, one-fourth of the peas and 1 Tbs. of the wine. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Fold the paper back over the chicken, matching the edges. Starting at one end of the fold, fold the edges toward the chicken, making a series of small, tight folds to create a curved border around the chicken. Twist the end of the packet to create a tight seal. Transfer the packet to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and parchment rectangles.

Bake until the paper packets puff up, about 20 minutes. To test for doneness, press the chicken with a fingertip through the paper. It should feel firm and spring back.

Transfer the packets to warmed dinner plates and serve immediately. Let each guest snip open his or her packet at the table, then slide the contents onto the plate. Pass a bowl for discarding the paper. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).