Grilled Chicken with Tarragon Butter and Sauteed Green Beans and Shallots

Part of the fun of summer is the pulling the grill into the middle of the patio and firing it up to make dinner. And, people, we're in full on summer now (even if the calendar says that's not official for another eight days), and I am finally feeling better after almost two and a half weeks of this cold. 

So, I say, welcome summer, welcome. 

To inaugurate the first official night of summer vacation, the husband and I grilled chicken, watched a Giants game, and then I shuffled off to bed to watch another two episodes of Orange is the New Black (I am trying to pace myself here with Season Three). 

The chicken is a simple grilled one with a compound butter with tarragon. Reminiscent of a healthier Béarnaise sauce (which is butter with egg yolks, vinegar and herbs--usually tarragon and chervil), the butter makes a nice contrast to smoky chicken. The chicken itself goes through two stages of cooking--20 minutes on the grill and 20 minutes in a very low oven, which Jacques Pépin (our chef and cookbook author) tells us is to help the chicken "relax." I am on summer. I support anything that suggests relaxation. 

The accompanying beans are a classic French staple of green beans with shallots, and if you can find France's beloved hericots verts, then certainly use them instead of regular string beans. However, when the CSA box sends you green beans, and you cannot keep atop of the abundance of vegetables they are sending your this summer, then use regular string beans, I say. 

Then settle in for a classic French meal reimagined by one of our nation's first celebrity chefs, Pépin. More than summer, however, I am so happy to be on the mend again. While I am not quite ready to take on working out again until next week, I am so happy to be getting outside the house, sitting on the patio while the husband grills, and ringing in the summer with some light(er) French fare. Bon appétit.

Grilled Chicken with Tarragon Butter and Sautéed Green Beans and Shallots
Adapted from  Jacques Pepin's Table

For the chicken with tarragon butter
2 servings

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and legs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Prepare the grill. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the salt, and place them on the rack when the grill is medium to hot. Grill for about 20 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally, until they are nicely browned on all sides. While they are cooking, preheat the oven to 225 degrees.

2.  Meanwhile, place the butter, olive oil, tarragon, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

3.  When the chicken pieces are browned, transfer them to a baking pan, and bake them uncovered for at least 20 minutes to finish cooking and "relax."  (This is a great time to start the beans.)

4.  When the chicken is finished in the oven, remove the skin, if desired, and serve one set of thigh and leg per person, each dotted with the tarragon butter.

For the beans and shallots
2 servings

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 pound small regular string beans (haricots verts if available), tips removed
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon olive, peanut, or hazelnut oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1.  Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan, and add the beans to the boiling water. Cook over high heat for 7-8 minutes, until the beans are tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the beans (most of the water will have evaporated), and spread them on a large platter to cool.

2. At serving time, heat the butter and oil in a skillet. Add the shallots and sauté for about 10 seconds. Add the beans, salt, an pepper, and continue to sauté  for about 2 minutes, until the beans are heated through.


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