Ingredients

2 large whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, and halved
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

Directions

1. Pat chicken breasts dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. In a shallow dish, place the 1/4 cup of flour and roll chicken breasts in it just to coat lightly.
2. In large, heavy skillet pan heat canola oil over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot, but not smoking, add chicken breasts and sear, shaking pan occasionally to keep the chicken from sticking, for 6 minutes. Turn and cook until just tender, about 6 minutes. Cover pan and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to platter and tent them lightly with aluminum foil to keep warm.
3. Add shallots to the pan cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add sherry vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
4. Add heavy cream and any juice that has been released by the cooked chicken, and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in tarragon, and salt and freshly ground pepper. Return chicken to pan and spoon sauce over the top. Serve immediately.
The pan sauce in this recipe is based on classic technique: An acidic ingredient, in this case vinegar, is used to deglaze the pan in which the chicken was cooked. It is reduced by half to intensify its flavor, and then heavy cream is added and reduced briefly until the sauce is slightly thickened. With so few ingredients, Palmer says, each one has to be of top quality. Use a premium sherry vinegar, or substitute a good quality fruit vinegar--Chef Palmer likes to use raspberry or pear vinegar in this recipe.
Chicken Breasts
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