One-Pot Wonders

Poulet à l'Estragon (Tarragon Chicken)

May  5, 2014
4 Ratings
Photo by Tom Hirschfeld/ Bona Fide Farm Food
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

There are lots of ways to make this dish. You could use whole fresh tomatoes, you could eliminate the cream and you could make it complicated by using multiple pans. I haven't done any of these but what I have done is keep the recipe simple and straight forward which in the end creates a rewarding and satisfying comfort food. I rarely cook anything other then a whole chicken, whether left whole or cut into pieces. Thighs would be great for this as would (I have put my hands over my eyes ) boneless skinless chicken breasts. If you use the breasts be very mindful of your cooking time or you will dry them out. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • 1 chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 shallots, trimmed, peeled and julienned
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon, minced, plus four sprigs
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  1. Season the chicken with salt and white pepper. Place a heavy bottom 12" skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot add enough olive oil to form a thin film on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken skin side down. Brown the chicken to your liking.
  2. When the chicken is brown quickly remove it to a plate. Add the butter and the shallots to the sauté pan. Saute the shallots until golden.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and let the wine reduce to a tablespoon or so. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste and the sprigs of tarragon. Place the chicken back into the pan and let the sauce come to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Place a lid on the pan and simmer the chicken until tender. About thirty minutes. Mean while heat the oven broiler.
  5. When the chicken is tender remove the lid from the pan. Carefully place the pan into the oven under the broiler and broil it for 3 to 5 minutes or however much time it takes to crisp up the skin. Remove from the oven.
  6. Remove the chicken to a platter. Place the pan over high heat. Add the cream and stir it in. Add the chopped tarragon. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Stir and bring to a boil.
  7. Sauce the chicken and serve over rice with extra sauce on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Zeina Sayegh Safa
    Zeina Sayegh Safa
  • BavarianCook
  • mainesoul
  • Cilantro & Lime
    Cilantro & Lime
  • Ann c
    Ann c

28 Reviews

James B. October 18, 2020
As you can see from reading all the reviews there is a common thread. There is either a reduction step for the final sauce that is left out OR the proportions of are too much and the cream too little.
If followed religously, you end up with amazing flavored chicken and about 2 cups of thin watery, amazing tasty liquid. its not a sauce. If you reduce it for another 30 min. or use 1 cup stock, then you might get closer to my expectations. Adding Wonder flour at the end could also help.
Missy July 30, 2019
Wow. I was not expecting the fabulous flavor of this dish at all. It transforms ordinary chicken into a full fledge swoon moment. My entire family went to town on it, including a picky child who asked to eat it every day of his life :) Made with chicken breast and arborio rice. Since the chicken didn't have bones I had to reduce the sauce to give it more body, but it was still great. Thanks!
katrina March 20, 2016
Love this! I looked for a recipe that I thought would taste like the delicious Chicken Tarragon I ate in Provence, and this did the trick. The only changes I made were to dust the chicken in flour before browning, and to reduce the sauce at the end...both resulted in a thick sauce that coated the chicken and side of rice nicely. I also added some salt to the sauce to get the taste I remembered. So delicious - thank you for the recipe!
thirschfeld July 31, 2019
I so glad you enjoyed it and that you took the time to make it! Thanks
Zoe's G. October 18, 2015
Zeina Sayegh Safa - yes, this will work fine with chicken breasts. I have had to substitute them in the past, with great results. If you're using whole skin-on and bone-in breasts, maybe cook them in the sauce just a little shorter time before broiling.
Zeina S. October 18, 2015
Thank you so much Zoe for the tip.
Zeina S. October 18, 2015
My kids won't eat chicken thighs, so I was thinking of making this dish using chicken breasts only (with bone and skin). Am I doing this recipe a disfavor by not using chicken thighs?
bahiti April 22, 2015
Great recipe. It didn't look like the sauce was meant to be runny so I reduced it. Next time, I will double the sauce so I get more at the end. I had a hard time imaging what veggies to pair as a side dish. Any ideas?
dillybug January 8, 2015
Very different from my go-to tarragon chix recipe and I liked the tomato paste and shallot enhancements. They added a nice depth and color. Will definitely add this recipe to my arsenal!
yatogaslor December 13, 2014
this made a tasty sauce, but i ended up adding more acid (white wine) and straight up reducing by the end with a full rolling boil. i don't think either of these adjustments should dissuade a person from trying the recipe-- dish came out sweetly comforting and full of all that great tarragon perfume

thank you for posting this !
plainhomecook October 1, 2014
When vegetarian friends come over I've made the sauce with no chicken and have served it over rice or noodles, with a high-protein salad. Still really good.
Clementine L. September 7, 2014
Made it last night for the first time. Delicious it was ! Super easy and so tasty.
We ate it with a garlic bread and a fresh olive oil and lemon juice salad. A new favourite at my home !
Kristina August 13, 2014
The recipe says " 1/2 dry white wine". I assume this means 1/2 a cup?
thirschfeld August 13, 2014
Thank you for noticing that, yes, a 1/2 cup.
BavarianCook June 13, 2014
Thank you for this wonderful recipe. It will be served in about 20 minutes with brown rice and roasted broccoli with lots of garlic & homemade bread on the side. The sauce is already tasting delicious and I can't wait to see what the broiler does to bring it to a happy finale!
mainesoul May 27, 2014
Made this last night. It was fantastic.
Zoe's G. May 23, 2014
This sounds really good. My chicken tarragon recipe is identical, except for using the same amount of Dijon mustard in place of the tomato paste. This might be a bit sweeter - I'll try yours if you'll try mine!
Andrea May 18, 2014
I made this tonight for the first time, and wow! I think it's our new favorite dish. It was easy to make, greatly flavored and so, so satisfying. That little kick of tarragon was the perfect addition.
plainhomecook May 18, 2014
It's simmering right now and the smell is heavenly.
Cilantro &. May 17, 2014
People were raving over this dish last night. I made it with miso-creamed kale, cheddar & black pepper cornbread, and Alice Medrich's cocoa brownies.
kaleandsalt May 13, 2014
This was so delicious and sophisticated while still tasting light and springy, amazing! I added a bit of anchovy paste to the butter and shallots, and threw in a box of frozen artichoke hearts after the shallots were tender and it was perfect. The sauce alone over rice made a meal the next day.
Ann C. May 8, 2014
So good!
Regine May 7, 2014
Stunwin, I was planning on using boneless skinless thighs. Now you are making me think twice. Re the thicker sauce, I may follow your suggestion. Thanks.