Ask the Chef
By Executive Chef Paul Marks
Believe it or not, I actually receive quite a bit of feedback and questions as Executive Chef at the Bellevue Club. Despite my photo—which my wife tells me is intimidating—members and guests aren’t afraid to ask me for cooking tips or recipes that they taste at the Club. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you’re interested in any of the Club dishes or just have a tough cooking question, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Below you will find a letter from a recent guest at the Club along with my response.
Dear Chef Paul,
I was at the Bellevue Club for an event today and had lunch at the Luna Café. Well, your tarragon chicken was sooooo good! It was tender, light, but full of flavor. Will you share your recipe with me? I am not a great cook, so specifics as to ingredients and cooking time will be helpful. Also, I know you make this yummy chicken in volume, but if you could give me the ingredient amounts for four chicken breasts that would be perfect. I will be so thankful to you for this favor. Have a nice rest of the weekend.
Yes, I too love that chicken. It’s actually pretty easy. Preheat your oven to 350, take your four chicken breasts and make sure they are deboned, with no skin and all fat cut off. Place in a pan just a little bigger than the breasts when lying flat. A 9-by-13 baking dish will suffice.
Pour low-sodium chicken stock in pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the chicken breasts. Cover the pan tightly with foil, place in the oven and steam the breasts until they are done, approximately 20 minutes.
At 20 minutes, check a breast with a meat thermometer. It should register 165 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, cut into the middle of one of the breasts—there should be no pink. If there is pink, re-cover and place back in the oven and check in five minutes.
Let chicken cool in the pan, covered, until cold. Take the chicken out of the pan and save the chicken stock.
Shred the chicken by hand, drizzle with about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and toss with salt and a small amount of pepper to your taste. Toss with fresh chopped tarragon.
Now, the key to keeping it moist is to pour some of the chicken stock over the pulled chicken, toss it and let it sit. The chicken will absorb the chicken broth. If it soaks up all the stock, add a little more.
We keep our chicken stored in a container that can drain into another pan, so if you add too much stock it does not make the chicken too soggy.
If you have chicken stock left over, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Keep in a Ziplock freezer bag for later use.
We use this chicken in salads, sandwiches and tossed into pastas.