Baked Chicken with Tarragon-Watercress Vinaigrette

A few years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit Courtney in New York City and had several excellent meals during the trip. But, one dinner, in particular, stood out above all others. It was an exquisite chicken dish served on a bed of pureed celery root and topped with watercress-tarragon vinaigrette. We discovered this delicacy at a tiny little restaurant called Whitehall Bar + Kitchen in Greenwich Village.

Though we did not actually get the recipe from the chef, (I kept kicking myself for not asking) we decided to try to replicate it at home, based upon the menu description. We’ve come very close to the amazing flavors we enjoyed that evening. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

If you have not tried making celery root puree, you are in for a treat. It’s a fantastic substitute for starchy veggies like potatoes and the flavor is fabulous. It takes a bit of time to prepare the celery root before you cook it and puree it because it has a tough outer skin that needs to be removed with a paring knife. We will post a little video on how to prepare the celery root soon.

Baked Chicken Breast with Goat Cheese and Tarragon-Watercress Vinaigrette

Servings 6
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes



  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper or salt and pepper
  • 1 large shallot finely chopped

Goat cheese-Butter

  • 1 tablespoon butter room temperature
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
  • cooked shallots see above

Tarragon-Watercress Vinaigrette

  • 2 stems of fresh tarragon leaves stripped from stems
  • 1 cup loosely packed watercress leaves, and stems are okay
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Celery Root Puree

  • 3-4 large celery roots celeriac peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Season chicken breast with S&P or lemon pepper.
    Brown chicken on both sides and remove to baking dish.
    In the same pan, add shallots and cook until translucent and beginning to brown.
    Set shallots aside to cool. Mix cooked shallots with goat cheese butter.
    Spread goat cheese-tarragon butter over the tops of each chicken breast.
    Cover dish with foil.
    Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked.

Goat cheese-Butter

  • Mix butter, goat cheese, cooked shallots, and tarragon and spread a thin layer evenly over the top of each chicken breast, just before baking.

Tarragon-Watercress Vinaigrette

  • Clean tarragon and watercress and dry with paper towels or in a lettuce spinner.
    In a food processor, blend tarragon and watercress along with garlic, until finely minced.
    Add lemon juice, rice vinegar, and olive oil.
    Blend in processor until well-mixed.
    Season to taste with S&P.

Celery Root Puree

  • Place celery root in a pot fitted with a French steamer.
    Pour enough water in the bottom of the pot to just reach the bottom of the French steamer (about 2 inches).
    Bring water to a boil and then turn heat to medium-high.
    Allow celery root to steam until a knife pierces easily, but celery root is not too mushy.
    Check every few minutes, so you don't overcook it.
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  • Place hot, steamed celery root into a food processor and blend until pureed.
    Add butter and cream.
    Blend well.
    Season to taste with S&P.

To Serve:

  • Distribute celery root evenly onto dinner plates.
    Serve chicken on top and spoon pan drippings over chicken.
    Drizzle tarragon-watercress vinaigrette over both chicken and celery root puree.
    Pass extra vinaigrette at the table.


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