Tarragon Chicken with Bacon Salad & Croque Monsieur

French classics don't get much better than a bacon salad & a croque monsieur! Perfect comfort food!

16th November 2015

This is our second food + wine pairing to come from our collaboration with Dan Murphy’s & Peter Nixon, executive of the Dan Murphy’s Wine Panel, and it’s an incredibly fun one! His food match suggestion to the wine was this: “This wine loves some of those earthy sweet nutty meaty strong cheeses – comte, gruyere – perhaps a dish containing cheese e.g. twice-cooked gruyere souffle served with a suitable French classic salad”.

We realised we had hadn’t cooked much with comte or gruyere cheeses, apart from making classic croque monsieur’s on a Sunday night from time to time. So we thought it would be a really fun idea to serve it alongside a classic French salad & some tarragon chicken (how incredible does that twice-cooked gruyere souffle sound…next time!). We freshened up the salad a bit with the addition of pomegranate seeds and our suggestion for the croque monsieur’s is to share one between two as they are quite rich.

With the recent awful tragedies that happened in Paris, this feels like a simple tribute of everything food & wine that makes France so sensational!

Tarragon Chicken with Bacon Salad & Croque Monsieur French classics don't get much better than a bacon salad & a croque monsieur! Perfect comfort food! Serves https://www.whattocook.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Grilled-Chicken-with-Bacon-Salad-Croque-Monsiuer-What-To-Cook-102-1400x784.jpg Ingredients: 4 chicken breasts, trimmed & flattened 40ml olive oil 2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, chopped 50g butter Salt Bacon Salad: 2 tbsp pine nuts 40ml olive oil 100g streaky bacon, cut into lardons 4 cups butter lettuce leaves 3 cups Mâche lettuce leaves 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds Vinaigrette dressing (follow our basic recipe) Croque Monsieur: 8 slices of sourdough Dijon mustard 4-8 slices Serrano ham 1 cup Comté cheese, grated Bechamel sauce (follow our basic recipe) Wine pairing: Pierre Naigeon Beaujolais Instructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 180c (for the croque monsieur). Toast the pine nuts over a medium heat until golden, then remove & set aside. Heat 40ml olive oil in a fry pan over a medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove and set aside.

    Prepare the salad by combining the two lettuces with the roasted pine nuts, crispy bacon & pomegranate seeds. Set aside until ready to serve. Prepare the vinaigrette until just before serving.

  2. Make the bechamel sauce by following along with our recipe in the basics section. Set it aside, keeping it warm.

    Make the Croque Monsieur; butter one side of each piece of sourdough and place in the pre-heated oven, buttered side up. Toast for a couple minutes, until golden. Remove the toasted sourdough from the oven and spread Dijon mustard over the non-buttered side. Top with a slice of Serrano ham and then the grated Comté cheese. Place it in the pre-heated oven until the cheese has slightly melted. Then place a piece of pre-toasted sourdough on top of the melted cheese, top with a spread of bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with Comté cheese and place back in the oven.

    Bake for approximately 3-4 minutes or until nice and golden. Reduce heat of the oven to 80-100c and keep the Croque Monsieur’s warm while cooking the chicken.

  3. Season one side of the chicken with salt & sprinkle with tarragon leaves. Heat fry pan over a medium heat, place the chicken seasoned-side down in the pan & cook for 4 minutes. Season the top side with salt & sprinkle tarragon over the top. Add the 50g butter to the pan.

    Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 4 minutes, or until chicken has cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

  4. Serve up the bacon salad topped with the chicken and the Croque Monsieur’s on the side. Absolutely delicious!

Step-by-Step

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Ingredients

4 chicken breasts, trimmed & flattened
40ml olive oil
2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
50g butter
Salt

Bacon Salad:
2 tbsp pine nuts
40ml olive oil
100g streaky bacon, cut into lardons
4 cups butter lettuce leaves
3 cups Mâche lettuce leaves
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
Vinaigrette dressing (follow our basic recipe)

Croque Monsieur:
8 slices of sourdough
Dijon mustard
4-8 slices Serrano ham
1 cup Comté cheese, grated
Bechamel sauce (follow our basic recipe)

Wine pairing: Pierre Naigeon Beaujolais


Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c (for the croque monsieur). Toast the pine nuts over a medium heat until golden, then remove & set aside. Heat 40ml olive oil in a fry pan over a medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove and set aside.

    Prepare the salad by combining the two lettuces with the roasted pine nuts, crispy bacon & pomegranate seeds. Set aside until ready to serve. Prepare the vinaigrette until just before serving.

  2. Make the bechamel sauce by following along with our recipe in the basics section. Set it aside, keeping it warm.

    Make the Croque Monsieur; butter one side of each piece of sourdough and place in the pre-heated oven, buttered side up. Toast for a couple minutes, until golden. Remove the toasted sourdough from the oven and spread Dijon mustard over the non-buttered side. Top with a slice of Serrano ham and then the grated Comté cheese. Place it in the pre-heated oven until the cheese has slightly melted. Then place a piece of pre-toasted sourdough on top of the melted cheese, top with a spread of bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with Comté cheese and place back in the oven.

    Bake for approximately 3-4 minutes or until nice and golden. Reduce heat of the oven to 80-100c and keep the Croque Monsieur’s warm while cooking the chicken.

  3. Season one side of the chicken with salt & sprinkle with tarragon leaves. Heat fry pan over a medium heat, place the chicken seasoned-side down in the pan & cook for 4 minutes. Season the top side with salt & sprinkle tarragon over the top. Add the 50g butter to the pan.

    Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 4 minutes, or until chicken has cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

  4. Serve up the bacon salad topped with the chicken and the Croque Monsieur’s on the side. Absolutely delicious!

FOOD & WINE PAIRING BY PETER NIXON FROM DAN MURPHY'S

Peter Nixon has over 25 years experience in the wine & food industry both locally and internationally. He has experience in wine list design, wine education, wine buying, wine marketing, international and local wine show judging, wine making, and has also trained as a chef. He loves entertaining and is a passionate about wine and food matching.

Here's what he has to say about the Grilled Chicken with Bacon Salad & Croque Monsieur + Pierre Naigeon Beaujolais 2013 pairing:

“The French are renowned for their love of all things cheese, butter, fresh meat and charcuterie, often combining all of the above for maximum effect. Take the highest-quality free range chicken, marry it with a classic bacon salad and the iconically, ridiculously good Croque Monsieur – Gallic for ham and cheese toastie – and you have a marriage par excellence!

Wine wise I suggest drawing on some traditional insights, cheesy-meaty comestibles typically paired with a lighter style, fresh young fruity red such as Burgundy’s underrated poor southern cousin – the ridiculously inexpensive region of Beaujolais, aka Gamay grape.

The Pierre Naigeon Beaujolais from Burgundy is both a super and great value example. Textbook Gamay traits of fresh wild strawberry, macerated cherry, alluring spice and mulchy undergrowth. The palate is bright and crunchy with a lick of Euro-tannin tucking in the corners.  

The natural juiciness of the wine, drying tannins and fresh crisp acidity a good counterfoil for the salty-fattiness of the dish.”

– Peter Nixon, The Dan Murphy’s Tasting Panel

 
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