Everyday Cooking

Milk-Poached Chicken with Tarragon and Peas

May 28, 2013

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.

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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


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Before her diagnosis, Caroline wrote a book on cakes called Cake Magic!. She started developing a birthday cake using her gluten-free mix found in that book. Check out other recipes she’s developing for her new life—and the stories behind them—on her blog, The Wright Recipes. Her next book, Soup Club, is a collection of recipes she made for her underground soup club of vegan and grain-free soups she delivers every week to friends throughout Seattle's rainy winter.


CA June 19, 2013
I changed the mustard/cream/milk with a bechamel using the poaching liquid. Terrific!
wietje May 29, 2013
What would be a good substitute for fresh tarragon?
lisina May 28, 2013
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.