20-Dollar, 20-Minute Meals

Milk-Poached Chicken with Tarragon and Peas

By • May 28, 2013 • 3 Comments

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Every week, Caroline Wright creates simple, civilized recipes for Food52 that feed four -- for under $20, in under 20 minutes.

Today: Bring those unloved chicken breasts back to life with a quick simmer in milk.

I don’t love boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They rank among the ingredients that, as a recipe developer by profession, I see often enough in my work life that I would rarely — if ever — bring them home in a grocery sack of my own choosing.

Poaching chicken breasts in milk, however, is a very simple way to enhance the cut’s texture and flavor through tender, gentle cooking that ends with tucking it into a bed of noodles. Watch the milk carefully to ensure it never visibly simmers — the key to this recipe’s success is taking usually quick-cooking ingredients and slowing down the tempo to find their softer side.


Milk-Poached Chicken with Tarragon and Peas


Serves 4

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 pound)
2 garlic cloves, smashed with flat side of knife
4 strips lemon zest
3 cup whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh tarragon, divided
4 cups wide egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cups frozen peas, thawed

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.


As a freelance food writer and cook, I first wrote this style of recipe as a column on my blog, The Wright Recipes, as an excuse to cook good food for my friends in a quick and simple way. 

Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute™ Meals grew into a cookbook that’s being published by Workman in May 2013. The recipes found here are original, made especially for Food52 to once again celebrate simple food with friends.

Photos by Caroline Wright


Jump to Comments (3)

Tags: Caroline Wright, 20 Dollar 20 Minute Meals, weeknight recipes, menu ideas, cooking, seasonal, chicken breast, tarragon, peas, poached, everyday cooking

Comments (3)


almost 2 years ago CA

I changed the mustard/cream/milk with a bechamel using the poaching liquid. Terrific!


almost 2 years ago wietje

What would be a good substitute for fresh tarragon?


almost 2 years ago lisina

mmmmm, my mom does a veal roast slow cooked in milk that is to die for. it's such a good and delicate tenderizer. i will definitely be giving this a try.