Make this classic Creamy Tarragon Chicken in 30 minutes for a delicious weeknight meal! Recipe with step-by-step photos.
When it comes to cooking traditional French food, most people think of a complex concoction of ingredients in a Le Creuset pot which has been simmering away on the stove for hours and hours à la Julia Childs.
But with the popularity of fast-cook meals, 30 minute meals and the like, many traditional French dishes have been adapted for the busy cook, and this Creamy Tarragon Chicken is one such delicious example.
Creamy Tarragon Chicken
My children are half-French, so I try to cook the occasional French meal at home so that they have some connection to their French heritage. Although, one could probably argue that their daily dose of croissants at breakfast should be enough to ensure that they do not forget their French roots!
This Creamy Tarragon Chicken combines the classic pairing of – you guessed it – tarragon with chicken, and no French kitchen is likely to be absent of cream and white wine, which are also essential to this dish.
The tarragon sauce contains dry white wine for deglazing the pan, as well as cream for richness.
Fresh tarragon is also essential to this dish for that distinct aniseed flavour, but dried tarragon also works in a pinch.
My recipe below includes a cornflour slurry to thicken the sauce slightly, but you can omit this if you prefer a thinner sauce.
How to Make Creamy Tarragon Chicken
Start by browning the chicken breasts in a large skillet or saucepan. You want the chicken to get a good colour and caramelisation on each side, and this is best achieved by letting the chicken sear on each side for at least 2 to 3 minutes until they are nicely coloured.
Remove the chicken to a plate. The chicken does not need to be fully cooked through at this stage.
Sauté the shallots (or onions) and garlic for about 1 minute, or until they are fragrant and softened.
Add the white wine to pan and let it bubble away for about 1 to 2 minutes until it has slightly reduced.
Next, add the chicken stock, cream and tarragon, and give everything a good stir, using your wooden spoon to scrape any caramelised bits from the pan. Simmer gently for a few minutes and then taste for seasoning.
If you wish, add enough cornflour slurry to the sauce to thicken it slightly.
Then return the chicken breasts to the sauce, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Garnish with parsley or more chopped tarragon before serving.
What to Serve with Creamy Tarragon Chicken
The creamy tarragon sauce is delicious served with some vegetables on the side, such as:
- boiled potatoes
- mashed potatoes
- roast potatoes
- steamed asparagus
- steamed broccoli
- steamed green beans
You could also serve some buttery pasta noodles alongside, such as tagliatelle, fettucine, or parpadelle.
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Creamy Tarragon Chicken
Make this classic Creamy Tarragon Chicken in 30 minutes for a delicious weeknight meal!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 3 to 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: French
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 to 6 small chicken breast fillets
- 2 shallots or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 160 ml (2/3 cup) dry white wine
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) double cream (heavy whipping cream)
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped (see Kitchen Notes)
- parsley, finely chopped
- sea salt
- freshly cracked pepper
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan over high heat.
- Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken breasts in the pan and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are golden and caramelised, before turning them over. The best way to achieve a nice colour on the chicken is to not move the chicken too often.
- Once the chicken is golden and caramelised on both sides, remove them to a plate. The chicken does not need to be fully cooked through at this stage.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan as needed.
- Add the shallots (or onions) and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until they have softened.
- Pour the white wine into the pan and let it simmer for a few minutes until it has reduced slightly.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture and to lift any caramelised bits from the pan.
- Pour in the chicken stock and cream, together with the fresh tarragon.
- Let the sauce simmer gently for a few minutes.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Slowly pour in the cornflour slurry, stirring the sauce as you do. You may not need all of the cornflour slurry – use as much as you need until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Return the chicken to the pan and place them in the sauce.
- Turn the heat down to low-medium, and place a lid on the saucepan.
- Cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken pieces have cooked through.
- Garnish with parsley or more tarragon before serving.
If you can’t find fresh tarragon, I recommend using 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CREAMY TARRAGON CHICKEN
* boiled potatoes
* mashed potatoes
* roast potatoes
* steamed asparagus
* steamed broccoli
* steamed green beans
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.