Suzi’s Blog

Chicken Breasts with Tarragon, Capers and White Wine from Patricia Wells



Tarragon is an herb too often neglected. It offers potent, earthy flavors — ones that might remind you of walking through a garden or forest after a shower on a warm day. Use just a little, though. You don’t want to destroy the balance of this lovely sauce. The sauce, chicken, herbs and some pungent capers forge a rich meal that can be delightfully paired with veggies and starches. Here the side is a potato soufflé. [Recipe to come!] And, yes, the inevitable haricot vert with a dab of herbed butter.

I've eaten this dish now about 100 times. Suzi offers it to her clients at Cooking by the Book. Teams come into our kitchen and cook meal a meal together, then sit to enjoy it. The big team is broken into smaller groups with each group preparing one part of the meal. The "chicken group" always, always wins the prize for being the best. The chicken is good, the sauce is exceptional.

If you want an elegant weekend meal, this provides all he gradeur you need. And, it's easy. 

Chicken Breasts with Tarragon, Capers and White Wine

Yield: serves 4


  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive-oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons capers in vinegar, drained


Cut each chicken breast in half, Cover with plastic wrap and, with a meat mallet or heavy-duty skillet, flatten the meat to about¼-inch thickness.  In a shallow bowl, combine the chicken, tarragon, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes.

In a large skillet over moderate heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil until hot but not smoking.  Add the chicken and cook for about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and turn, cooking the other side for about 2 minutes more. Season the second side and transfer to a warm serving platter.  Cover with foil to keep warm.  Slowly add the wine to the skillet, scraping up any bits of chicken that cling to the pan.  Add the capers and boil, uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and syrupy.  Drizzle the sauce over the chicken.

Source: Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells


Kentucky Bourbon Sirloin Steak



Suzi often has guests from overseas who want a typical American meal. Nothing can match a great steak with bourbon sauce. In our picture here, you see just a trickle of the sauce on top of the meat. Me, I create an ocean of sauce and then immerse the steak. That’s tasty but not elegant. Suzi prefers elegant. You can opt for sauce or elegance. I suspect you will go for sauce.

Kentucky Bourbon Sirloin Steak

Yield: serves 4


  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 8-ounce sirloin steaks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ⅓ cup Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Put the black peppercorns in a wide, flat dish. Press the steaks into the peppers to coat them on all sides, then season with salt. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the steaks, two at a time if necessary to avoid overcrowding, and cook for 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer each steak to a dinner plate and set aside.

Add the shallots to the pan and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bourbon, the carefully return the pan to the stove over low heat and cook until the bourbon is almost entirely evaporated, about 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, raise the heat to high, bring it to a boil, and continue to boil until reduced and thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Swirl in the cream and butter and warm gently.

Pour some sauce over each steak and serve.


TBT Recipe: Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce


With football season winding down, it is time for the Big games. So for this Sunday or in two week with the Super Bowl itself, you'll need some party food. From our archieves of 2014, these meatballs are football perfection. You can make a bunch and devour one quarter at a time.

Spiced Lamb Meatballs With Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

Yield: about 40 enough for around 6 [maybe]


For the sauce:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the meatballs:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • Water
  • 1 pound ground lamb, preferably grass fed
  • 3 green onions white and green parts minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt


Prepare the sauce: In a small serving bowl, stir together the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper until well blended. Set aside at room temperature until serving.

Prepare the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.

Remove the crusts of the sliced bread and grind in a food processor. Sprinkle the crumbs with 2 tablespoons of water and toss to moisten evenly.

In another bowl, add the lamb, green onions, most of the parsley (save a small amount to garnish the sauce), the egg, cumin, paprikas, pepper, allspice, the moistened bread crumbs and salt and mix together gently with your hands. Scoop up a heaping teaspoon of the mixture; shape into a ball between your palms, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat to shape the remaining mixture. You should have about 40 meatballs total.

Bake the meatballs until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Alternately, you can brown the meatballs in 2 Tbsp. of oil in a sauté pan and finish cooking on a sheet pan in the oven. [This gives a better taste, trust me!]

Transfer the meatballs to a warmed platter and place the sauce alongside for dipping. Garnish with the reserved minced parsley. Serve right away with cocktail picks for spearing.

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55mm Lens, F/3.5, 1/30 second, ISO-320