I don’t love boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They rank among the ingredients that, as a recipe developer by profession, I see well enough in my work life that I would rarely — if ever — bring 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. —Caroline Wright
large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 pound)
In a medium saucepan, place chicken breasts in a single layer. Scatter garlic cloves and zest over top, and pour milk over. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter 2 sprigs tarragon over top.
Heat milk until almost to simmering (but bubbles do not break surface of milk) over medium heat. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place a mesh strainer over a large bowl, and cook noodles according to package directions. When chicken is cooked through, remove chicken to a cutting board.
While chicken rests, pour milk mixture through strainer (discard solids). Remove about 1/4 cup milk mixture and whisk into sour cream and mustard in a small bowl. Return sour cream mixture back into broth with leaves from remaining tarragon sprigs and peas. Thinly slice chicken and serve with peas and milky broth over egg noodles.
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. (Available February 2021.)