French Tarragon Chicken Recipe – With a beautiful big bunch of fresh French tarragon left in the herb keeper, I made a quick change to the “Sunday dinner with Mom” menu – boneless chicken instead of roast pork.
With a busy day in store, instead of a tender juicy pork roast with roasted fingerlings and steamed vegetables, I opted of a quick and easy tarragon chicken recipe over buttered rice. The menu included a salad of mixed baby greens with a mustard vinaigrette.
Check the Page Contents box for links to more French Country Cuisine chicken recipes.
As quick and easy as this recipe is to prepare, I will say up front that I adjusted the ingredients to accomodate Mom’s restricted diet.
In its closest to “authentic” form, this dish is prepared with chunks of boneless and skinless chicken breasts but I have come across recipe variations where all chicken pieces were used. Skin on!
Personally, I believe that the skin imparts great flavor to any chicken dish so being as I never leave well enough alone… I would not have any second thoughts about using skin-on chicken breasts, thighs and drumsticks.
Chicken Breasts Or Thighs?
For this recipe, I purchased a family pack of boneless and skinless chicken thighs. Why? Because Mom prefers dark meat and boneless makes it easier for her to eat unassisted. Peripheral neuropathy is awful!
Grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon leaves a lot to be desired. Choices were limited at the local supermarket.
The pack of whole organic cut chicken pieces was considerably more expensive than the skinless thighs. So I made an executive decision.
Poulet à l’estragon
At first, I thought I would use white wine as the braising liquid instead of rich chicken broth – maybe even organic bone broth which was lower in sodium than even “low sodium” broth!
A combination of white wine and chicken broth is totally acceptable and that is what I opted for.
At Wegman’s®, the cream is found with other imported creams and butters in the cold case across from the Cheese shop. At Harris Teeter®, I found in the case with all imported cheeses and specialty items.
Is Sherry vinegar not a pantry staple? Buy a bottle ofsherry cooking wine. You will use the cooking wine faster than the vinegar.
Shallots are a required ingredient but garlic is optional.
To add another layer of flavor, instead of plain Dijon mustard, use Maille® with Tarragon!. It tastes fabulous in turkey sandwiches!
If you have an upscale market in your neighborhood, buy French crème fraîche épaisse to prepare the sauce. Thanks to its high fat content ( a minimum of 30%), it is perfect when going for silky smoothness – and flavor – in the sauce.
Sour cream has a lower fat content and is well… slightly sour.
Don’t Do This!
It never pays to be lazy and think that skipping a step in a recipe will be “all good” in the end. No, it won’t.
Won’t tell you how difficult it was to combine the cream with the braising liquid. Don’t do what I did last Sunday.
Take the chicken out of the pan, stir in the cream to combine well then put the chicken back in the pan. I’ve been cooking for how many years? 😌
Busy day ahead? This French Tarragon Chicken Recipe is #quick and #easy! Sauté boneless chicken with shallots, add a touch of sherry and a bite of vinegar then braise in rich broth for a scrumptious 30 minute meal. Serve the chicken and the creamy sauce over buttered rice. #dinnerideas
2.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs (recipe should be prepared with 3 to 4 large chicken breasts)
2 shallots, medium sized – diced
Olive oil, just enough to sauté the chicken pieces – maybe a couple tablespoons
2 large sprigs of fresh tarragon – leaves stripped (about 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped)
Chopped flat leaf parsley – about 2 tablespoons
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
Dry chicken pieces on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix the mustard into the cream to combine well. Set aside to stir into the braising liquid just before serving (see step below)
Over medium high heat, add olive oil and butter to a large frying pan ora large sauteuse.
Sauté all chicken pieces removing to a platter as they turn a light golden color. Set aside. Boneless pieces tend to stick to the pan but the bits will be a great addition to the pan juices.
Lower the temperature under the pan. Add the chopped shallots along with the chives and some parsley. Sauté until the shallot takes on some color and becomes slightly translucent.
Add both the sherry and red wine vinegars. Stir to remove little bits stuck to the frying pan then add some of the broth.
Stir to combine, add the rest of the broth and the white wine.
Carefully place the chicken pieces in the liquid so that all pieces are semi submerged. Turn chicken over about half way through the twenty minutes so they cook evenly and sprinkle with chopped or stripped tarragon leaves.
Once cooked through and just before serving, remove the chicken pieces from the pan to make it easier to stir in the mustard/cream mixture into the braising liquid.
Stir in cream and mustard mixture. Adjust seasonings.
Carefully place the chicken pieces back into what is now a cream sauce. Coat evenly.
Serve over plain buttered rice with a side salad of mixed greens in a mustard vinaigrette.
Please note that I adjusted the original recipe ingredients to accommodate a strict diet.
This can easily be a 30 minute meal! Mine had to cook a little longer (40 minutes) because I left the thighs whole instead of cubing them into large chunks. My excuse? No sharp knife in Mom’s kitchen and it is much easier to cut into chicken breasts than uneven thighs.
I used Mom’s only large frying pan! I decided not to travel with my personal kitchen tools on Sunday but, from experience, it would make it much easier to prepare this type of recipe in a something a little deeper than a regular frying pan. Have a lid handy to prevent too much evaporation during the cooking process.
Silicone kitchen spoons and silicone tipped tongs are super! No worries about scratching the pan.
The recipe was so easy to prepare a couple weeks ago that I prepared it again for a quick but special birthday dinner on Tuesday.
This meal was not destined for Mom’s stringent diet so I decided to blow everyone’s diet.
My verdict? Rich, super tasty and a really quick one pan meal. The review below was written by a real foodie – one who’s sampled and reviewed menu offerings at some of the best restaurants from Washington D.C. to the Big Apple and beyond.
This chicken dish with tarragon is a delight for a family meal. The chicken’s savory sauce served with rice will have you wanting to lick the plate clean when no one is looking! A distinct and slightly tangy flavor might remind you of curry but with a less earthy flavor. Herbaceous and flavorful, French Tarragon Chicken will delight your whole family. You’ll have to make more just to handle requests for seconds or thirds!
Tweaking The Ingredients
Although the chicken pictured in the image does not look as sautéed as in the top recipe, the instructions were followed to the letter with a few exceptions.
Added 3 heaping teaspoons of Dijon to the crème fraîche
Used a Dutch oven instead of a frying pan (lesson learned)
I used 5 to 6 ounces of white wineinstead of 8 ounces of chicken broth. The wine was added to the pan as in the instructions above. Added 2 teaspoons of chicken base to the wine/shallot mixture and stirred well to combine. It may sound like very little liquid to braise the chicken but it turned out to be the perfect amount.
Added the chicken pieces back to the Dutch oven, stirring to make sure the shallots were evenly distributed and covered with pan lid.
Simmered, covered, for 30 minutes. Complete the recipe as above, using the crème fraîche instead of the sour cream.