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Tarragon Cream Chicken and Polenta Pot Pie | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Before getting to the recipe, I want to go off on a little tangent here. I have been thinking about what makes a good food blog lately. Maybe it’s because I hit 100 posts, or maybe it’s because I have been bothered by a few things said on some other blogs. So, I want to know from you – what makes you go back to certain blogs? I know for me, there are a few things that determine what make a good blog. For some, it’s the photos. And some make me laugh every time I visit. But mostly, it’s the recipes. Some blogs are constantly posting recipes that I would make at home. Now, I know that everyone has different tastes and styles, so what food appeals to me might not appeal to someone else. I also realize that people’s personalities come across online – and I realize that not all personalities mesh. And although I made this blog primarily for myself – and continue to have a record of different recipes I have tried – I would be lying if I said that I didn’t like the comments and attention that comes from it. So, I want your feedback. Not necessarily about my blog, but about blogs in general. Maybe everyone can use this as a way to improve. Take for example – there is a certain blog that I would read more often, but the type set is so small that it is hard for me to read, so I tend to skip over posts from this blog. Well, I almost always use Firefox as my browser, but I opened up my blog on Internet Explorer the other day, and on my monitor at home, the print in Explorer is a lot smaller than it is on Firefox. I had no idea. So I need to figure out a way to fix that problem. Anyway – if you have any pointers or advice on what you like in a food blog, let me (and anyone else reading) know. I would love to hear what you think!!

Onto the food…I discovered 2 things when I made this meal. One – that I’m not a huge fan of tarragon, and two – my husband loves tarragon!! I saw Rachael Ray making this on 30-Minute Meals one day, and it looked so good. Actually, I should say that it sounded good, because let’s face it – it’s not such a photogenic meal!! It did actually taste really good – especially for such a quick meal. Personally, I would leave out the tarragon next time or substitute it for something else, but that is just a personal preference! And I timed myself when I made this – and it was done in just under 30 minutes. I was impressed, because I can’t usually make the 30 Minute Meals in 30 minutes!! OK, now onto my ignorance – what is the difference between polenta and cornmeal? I am constantly on the lookout for polenta at the grocery store because everyone else uses it, but have never been able to find it until recently. Well, the bag I bought is labeled as polenta, but right under that, it says it is cornmeal. So is it interchangeable? Or is there a difference?

Tarragon-Cream Chicken and Polenta Pot Pies
from 30 Minute Meals

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery with the greens, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups chicken stock, divided
1 cup cream, divided
1/2 cup quick cooking polenta, plus more, if needed*
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 sprigs fresh tarragon, stripped and chopped, 3 to 4 tablespoons
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

In a deep skillet heat 2 turns of the pan extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and lightly brown, 3 minutes, add carrots, onions, and celery as you chop. Season with salt and pepper and cook 10 to 12 minutes to soften.

Preheat broiler. Set rack in middle of oven.

Bring 1 cup chicken stock and 1/2 cup cream to a boil, stir in polenta and whisk, 3 minutes. Turn heat low, stir in Gruyere cheese and reserve.

*Cook’s Note: You may need up to 3/4 to 1 cup of polenta to fill the tops of your soup bowls or use some more of the remaining stock.

Scoot meat and veggies off to side, melt butter and combine with flour 1 minute. Whisk in 2 cups stock and combine, stir in 1/2 cup cream and bring to a bubble. Stir in Dijon, tarragon, peas and adjust salt and pepper and transfer to soup bowls. Set soup bowls on baking dish. Form tops to your pot pies with the polenta and cheese mixture. Set under broiler and brown 2 to 3 minutes.

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15 Responses to Tarragon-Cream Chicken and Polenta Pot Pies

  1. glamah16 says:

    Is the polenta you used already “cooked” and molded into a roll to slice? Thats what I come across here all the time in the Italien foods section. But is essentially cornmeal.
    A lot of the blogs that appeal to me have great photos and are approacable.I tend to skip over ones that dont have photos(good or bad) It doesn’t have to be about recipes all the time. Personality is important as you mentioned. Like you, I blog for myself. I love to see who’s checking me out, but if that was the sole reason, its the wrong reason. Follow your heart , styles , and instintcs, and those who appreciate you will follow. If anything its a tool for me to grow as a cook , writer, and to spice up the world I live in.

  2. Courtney says:

    wow this looks good, I dont think I really eat too much tarragon so I might try this.
    I agree about blogging, it really is just having a avenue to open yourself up to, and if people like it than I am happy about that too. Photos really make a big difference. I wish that I could take some good pictures. I love you blog and enjoy your photos a lot, you are a really sweet internet buddy.

  3. Janet says:

    Hey Deborah…. thanks for the link… I’m the “would” everybody!! :-)

  4. Nan says:

    The blogs that I read the most have excellent photography and a sense of humor (which I realize mine has neither of). I read so many that they sometimes blend together, but I do love blogging! Also, your post made me open my blog in internet explorer, and my alignment is all crazy! That’s kind of disappointing, but I guess I need to fix it!

  5. Anh says:

    Deborah, thanks for the link to my blog. I feel so honoured :D.

    And what a great post! For me, I really love your blog for all the dinner ideas. I confess I am terrible at thinking ahead for dinner. So your recipes help me fix just that!

  6. Deborah says:

    Nan,

    I just thought I would report that I did some research on my blog, and 98% of the people that visit my blog use Firefox. Only 1% on IE and 1% on netscape. That made me feel better!

  7. Abby says:

    I’ve bought and made polenta but I didn’t care for it – I think that’s because I’m more used to just plain grits. But some people say grits and polenta are one and the same. Who knows?

    For me and food blogs it’s all about the writing. I rarely make recipes from the blogs I read. I just like to be entertained!

    And I never thought about how blogs look different in different browswers. I hope mine isn’t the one that’s too small! I know what you mean, though.

  8. Arfi Binsted says:

    I am not really fond of taragon myself. I should try them with this chicken recipe.

  9. KJ says:

    Tarragon really is one of the lesser known herbs. I rarely ever use it. So it’s good to see a recipe that gives it a starring role.

    For me a blog has to have photos. I also enjoy blogs that are funny or a bit quirky. But at the end of the day, it’s the recipes. The blogs I like most are those by people who seem to enjoy the same style of food as me.

    As for my own blog, like you I do it mostly for me. It’s just fun. But it is great when people visit and take the time to comment. I always appreciate your lovely comments.

  10. Valli says:

    Hey Deborah! This Rachel Ray creation is right up my alley. Part of the reaon that I blog is for the great recipes from my fellow bloggers. They have prepared the dish, photographed and stamped their approval on it. Therefore, I know it is something I can offer in my own home and have it turn out well. Another reason I blog is for a record of my recipes for my family and friends. If ever I have advertiseemtns I wil have to remove a few things from my blog like lyrics, etc.If others enjoy coming to my blog all the better. A perk for me is having all the kind and encouraging comments from others with more experience in the kitchen than myself. It can sometimes start my day off really well. My computer is archaic and there are about 3 blogs that I love but rarely visit because they stall my computer and I end up unplugging. I’m not sure why that is.

  11. Emilie says:

    Ok, so I’m not sure what the difference is between cornmeal and polenta. If I had to guess, I would say that polenta is ground finer. I can’t find polenta here, because I live in the middle of nowhere.

    What makes a good blog? I used to think the really fancy popular ones, like La Tartine, C&Z, Gluten Free, etc. were great.
    Now I like just regular blogs, because I get to know the people that write them, and I can actually have a conversation with them. If you leave a comment on one of the “bigger” blogs, they probably won’t respond or visit your blog. Does that make sense?
    Also, I do enjoy a good picture.

    Pot Pie looks good, too. Sorry this was long.

  12. Lisa Kendrick says:

    I’m so glad that you posted a recipe that uses tarragon because I have lots of it! I bought it for a chicken salad recipe and have plenty leftover.

    I like blogs that have recipes that I can whip up at homes with ingredients readily available and are entertaining to read.

  13. kellypea says:

    Deborah, I appreciate the time it took to do this post. I enjoyed checking out the links you included and agree with you on the photographs and the laughs. I don’t need everyone’s blog to make me laugh — I just enjoy getting to know the person behind the blog and know that writing can be a true and strong reflection of a person’s personality if they relax and just write from the heart.

    I’ve learned to improve my photos, but am still very much learning. I have fun with it all. I’m also learning about having my own domain with my other blog (which has nothing to do with cooking, sadly) and with web design. I’d love to spend more time with my food blog, but the other one takes more time. I cook and take photos, but don’t seem to get the posts up as much as I’d like. Plus, then I don’t get around to other’s sites. No whining — just trying to work it all out.

    I forgot the most important thing — recipes that look and sound tasty. The next thing I need to work on (now that I’ve ended all my cooking magazine subscriptions) is to begin to make some of the recipes I see on others’ blogs. I think that would be very fun.

  14. Nicole says:

    I saved this recipe (and shared it) using Google Reader and now finally got around to reading it! The tarragon in the recipe is what caught my eye! I love tarragon but hardly ever use it so I’d like to try this one sometime.

    I love food blogs that don’t take themselves or the food too seriously. The writing should be fun and accessible and the recipes should be something that ‘real people’ can make in a ‘real kitchen.’ I love great food photography but I like the food to look real. I want to feel like yes, I can do that too!

    I am turned off by blogs that are poorly organized, messy, or have way too much going on in the sidebars. I don’t mind advertising because I know how much time, energy and resources foodblogging takes up so it’s great if a blogger can earn a little money. BUT if I can tell that the whole purpose of the blog is to try to earn money, that’s a definite turn off.

    I also look for blogs that go out of their way to link to other bloggers and take the time to interact with their readers.

    Ok, this turned out to be longer than I intended! These are just the things I happen to look for, I hope I didn’t sound like I was saying that this is the way all food blogs should be!

    Take care!

  15. Kate says:

    For me its definately the photos first. After all if its a food blog , we need visuals :) and then ofcourse the recipe and the writing. U have to be able to connect with the writer, as just a good photo n recipe will not complete the deal.
    I use firefox too and as for the polenta and corn meal I’m as confused as you. So in a way I’m glad you asked. I’ll just follow up your comments to find out. I’ve bought polenta and cooked it a couple of times but cornmeal…dunno as i cant find it either.

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