Category Archives: tarragon

French Chicken Noodle Soup


Cooler weather means the onset of comfort food and what is more comforting than a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup? But this soup, adapted from Cuisine At Home isn’t your ordinary chicken noodle soup. Made with a French twist, it is a sophisticated version of the soup I grew up on. Enhanced with brandy and apple cider, the broth is flavorful without being overpowering. Mellow flavored leeks replace the traditional onions with tarragon being the herb of choice. And of course you mustn’t forget the bacon. The vegetables are sautéed in bacon drippings and the entire bowl is topped with a sprinkling of crisp bacon. What’s not to like?

Serve the soup with warm buttermilk biscuits (which you can make while the soup is simmering) and you have a comforting dinner that will warm you inside and out.


6 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 strips bacon, diced

2 cups sliced leeks

1 1/2 cups sliced carrots

1 1/2 cups sliced celery

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup brandy

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cups apple cider

2 bay leaves

6 ounces dried egg noodles

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Place the broth and chicken breasts in a large pot set over medium-high heat. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool. Reserve the broth.
  • When the chicken has cooled, use two forks to shred the meat into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  • Add the bacon to a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until crisp.
  • Use a slotted spoon to drain the bacon onto a paper towel lined plate.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic to the bacon drippings. Cover the pot and cook until the vegetables are tender crisp, about 10 minutes.
  • Uncover the pot and add the brandy to the vegetables, stirring to loosen any cooked on pieces. Cook until the brandy has evaporated.
  • Stir in the Dijon mustard then add in the reserved broth, the apple cider and the bay leaves.
  • Bring the soup to a boil over high heat.
  • Stir in the noodles, the diced apple and the shredded chicken. Cook until the noodles are tender.
  • Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and tarragon and season with the salt and pepper.
  • Serve immediately topped with the crumbled bacon.

Serves 6

Beef Stroganoff


Most days my cooking tends to lean towards healthier recipes that combine unexpected ingredients to create flavorful dishes. I love the deep and robust flavors combinations that are prevalent in Mediterranean, Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Recently my cooking has reflected my current location and I’ve been recreating classic French and Belgian comfort food. But amidst all of this I tend to forget many of the classic flavors I grew up on. And once such dish is beef stroganoff.

This recipe is from Simply Recipes and combines tender beef with mushrooms and rich sour cream for a  classic dish that is always good. Even when trying to eat healthier, I’m a huge proponent of using real sour cream since lower fat versions will not produce the same results. And do use fresh tarragon for this dish; the dried herb simply isn’t as flavorful or bright. Serve over a steaming pile of egg noodles and you too will be transformed back to the comforts of your childhood.


5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound  top sirloin beef, cut into 1 inch strips
1/2 pound baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, minced
1 cup of sour cream, at room temperature

  • Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet on medium heat.
  • Season the beef on all sides with the salt and pepper.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and working in batches add the strips of beef to the pan. Tossing regularly, cook until the beef is browned on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and repeat the cooking process until all of the beef has been browned.
  • In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and then add the shallots.
  • Cook the shallots for a minute or two, allowing them to soak up any meat drippings. Remove the shallots to the same bowl as the meat and set aside.
  • In the same pan, melt the remaining butter.
  • Increase the heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes.
  • While cooking, sprinkle the nutmeg and the tarragon on the mushrooms.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream to the mushrooms. Mix in the sour cream thoroughly but do not allow the mixture to simmer as the sour cream may curdle.
  • Return the beef and shallots to the pan and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6


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