Between jobs, relationships, hobbies, and other commitments, it’s all too easy to find yourself eating the same thing for dinner over and over again. I know when I end up in that cycle, I’m much more likely to blow some money on takeout to satisfy a craving. And let’s face it, takeout is never as good as you hope it will be.
One of the easiest ways to get out of your habitual cooking patterns is to swap your standard herbs and spices for something new. You don’t need to change anything about the way you cook, only an ingredient or two.
To force myself out of my own cooking routines this summer, I decided to grow one tarragon plant. For my first harvest, I kept it simple. I don’t cook with tarragon often and I wanted to get to know it better. I layered the roughly chopped leaves with goat cheese and coarse black pepper. The dusting of smoked paprika on top lightly seasoned the meat without distracting from the flavor of the fresh tarragon.
Tarragon has a mild black licorice, or anise, flavor. It’s earthy, mixed with the warm and spicy licorice flavor. It’s more soothing than the flavor I associate with the candy. Give it a chance if you’re not a black licorice fan. I’m not either. When it’s combined with the savory goat cheese and mild chicken, it’s very mellow and enjoyable.
These chicken rolls can easily be adapted for any herb and spice combination you like.
Chicken Rolls with Goat Cheese and Tarragon
- 4 chicken breasts: trimmed and halved
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 8 Tbs goat cheese
- 2 Tbs fresh tarragon, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
- Smoked Paprika, to taste (substitute regular paprika if you don’t have smoked)
- Preheat oven to 350ᐤF.
- Brush a baking sheet with the olive oil.
- Take one half of a chicken breast and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Pound out the half until relatively uniform in thickness. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Lay out each breast half flat. Spread 1 Tbs of goat cheese on each half—you’ll need to use your fingers to spread it out evenly. Sprinkle each with about 1/4 tsp tarragon and top with black pepper.
- Roll each piece of chicken from the most tapered edge. Secure with toothpicks or four rolls will fit nicely on two barbecue skewers. Alternatively, tie with kitchen twine.
- Sprinkle rolls with salt and smoked paprika.
- Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Flip and sprinkle with some more salt and parika. Return to oven for 10-15 more minutes. Keep an eye on them, if some of your pieces were thinner than others, you’ll want to take those rolls out sooner.
- Let rest for 5 minutes.
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