Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Chicken & Tarragon Sandwiches

French tarragon, a perennial herb that appears late spring to early summer, is perfect with chicken.

Words & recipe: Ruth Pretty  Styling & photo: Carolyn Robertson


6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
700g (3 to 4 single) chicken breasts, skin on
750ml milk
3 tablespoons chopped french tarragon leaves
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 slices white sandwich
bread butter for buttering bread, softened
200ml Basic Mayonnaise (recipe below)


Heat oven to 200°C. Place peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme and chicken into a small roasting tray. Pour milk over chicken, cover tray with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked (check the juices are running clear or use a thermometer). Discard the liquid, or save to use in soup.

Allow the chicken to cool completely, then finely chop (including the skin). Mix with the mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and pepper. Spread each bread slice generously with softened butter and divide chicken mixture into 6 loose balls. Place a ball on 6 of the bread slices, making sure the chicken mixture covers the bread but remains mounded up in the centre. Put the remaining slices of bread on top and press down the edges. The result is a sandwich with a raised centre. Trim crusts (preferably using an electric knife), then cut each one into two triangles.

Store in the fridge in a sealed container lined with waxed paper (put the paper between each layer and on top of the sandwiches) for up to a day. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Serves 6

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Basic Mayonnaise

Put 4 egg yolks, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, juice of 1 lemon and 1¼ cup canola oil in a food processor and whiz until smooth. Keep the processor running and very slowly drizzle 1¾ cups canola oil through the feed tube until the mayonnaise is thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Scrape into a lidded jar and store in the fridge for up to a week. Makes: 560ml

Cook’s tip: If the mayonnaise is too thick, keep the processor running and slowly pour 1 tablespoon boiling water through the feed tube.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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