Tarragon Chicken (or Chicken Tarragon) is one of my favorite all in one meals. It is a French Provencal dish that is healthy, hearty, aromatic, and not to mention wonderfully delicious. The ingredients are pretty basic, which is a definite plus in my book. The first time I ever came across chicken tarragon was in a cookbook (Betty Crocker's International Cookbook) that was given to me as a birthday gift MANY years ago.
This is the book that sparked my interest in ethnic cooking. As a matter of fact, I think Chicken Tarragon was the first thing that I ever made out of this book. Although this dish consists of a few steps, don't let that hold you back. They are easy, well timed steps.
What is tarragon?
The botanical name for tarragon is Artemisia dracuncula. The name comes from Artemis, the Greek goddess of wisdom and draconis, the word for dragon in Latin. Unlike other herbs in antiquity tarragon's medicinal uses appear to be somewhat restricted. The ancient Greeks used it to cure toothaches. Another common use for tarragon was as a treatment for snake bites. Huh? Snake bites? Really? Yes, really. Sounds weird I know. This use actually stems from a medieval medical belief that a plant's shape was an indication of what is was good for from a medical standpoint. Tarragon has a serpentine shape, thus the assumption that it was an adequate remedy for snake bites. This medical theory was known as the Doctrine of Signatures. So now you can impress your friends with this little trivia tidbit.
Tarragon is thought to be original to Mongolia and Siberia. French tarragon has a minty/licorice flavor. In culinary circles it is referred to as the "king of herbs." This is not surprising since its is so aromatic and unique. There is a Russian version of tarragon which has a more bitter taste than its French counterpart. Although tarragon has been around since antiquity, it is estimated that cultivation has only taken place for about 700 years. In the context of human history, that's the blink of an eye.
Tarragon Chicken is a perfectly balanced meal. The chicken provides the protein, carrots provide the vegetable and served with rice, you have your grains. You can make this dish in a Dutch oven or a braising pan. I actually prefer the Dutch oven because I can take it straight to the table. Chicken tarragon goes well with mashed potatoes or white rice. Traditionally this dish is prepared using whole pieces of chicken, bone and all. The bones add a lot of flavor. Now that Fall is upon us, this is a great dish to serve your family.
Here are some tips on preparing this dish.
You want to brown the chicken in the Dutch oven until it is about ¾ done or just firm. The chicken will finish cooking by baking in the oven. While the chicken is finishing in the oven you make the rich stock for basting and reserve half of the stock for making the white wine cream tarragon sauce. The process is very easy and creates a rich flavorful chicken you will want to make again! If you make this I would love to hear from you.
Step by step photos:
- Gather all your ingredients and have them measured, chopped and ready to go before you begin the dish. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. If you need instructions on how to cut up a whole roaster chicken I have instructions on my Moroccan chicken tagine recipe.
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and place 1 Tbsp of olive oil, add the chicken and brown on both sides until it is about ¾ of the way cooked.
- Remove the chicken from the Dutch oven and place in a 13"x9" oven safe baking dish along with the carrots. Sprinkle with tarragon and bake uncovered for about 35 minutes.
- Scrape out the Dutch oven and toss the scrapings. Heat on medium and add 1 Tbsp olive oil then sauté the shallots and celery until the shallots turn slightly brown.
- Add the stock, bay leaves and wine then up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Let it boil two minutes then reduce the heat to medium.
- Stir in the tomato paste and reduce the sauce to about two cups.
- Remove 1 cup of the sauce and set aside. This will be used for the cream sauce.
- Take the remaining sauce in the Dutch oven and pour it over the chicken and baste every 5-10 minutes.
- To prepare the cream sauce, heat a sauce pan on medium and heat the cream. Slowly add the reserved cup of sauce stirring constantly.
- Reduce the sauce until it thickens to a nappe consistency or coats the back of a spoon.
- Transfer the chicken back to the Dutch oven, pour the cream sauce on top and serve.
Frequently asked questions:
Once the chicken has cooled you can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Reheat the chicken in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and stop to stir every 30-45 seconds until hot. Once reheated do not cool and store again in the refrigerator, consume it right away. So only reheat the amount you will consume.
I would avoid freezing the cream sauce because when it thaws it will have a grainy unpleasant texture. You can separate the chicken and freeze just the meat. Allow the chicken to cool and you can freeze in airtight containers for up to 2 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator and then reheat in the microwave.
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Chicken Tarragon Recipe Card
A French classic recipe for tender creamy and delicious roasted chicken with a white wine tarragon sauce. This is a must try recipe and your family will love it. The recipe is simple to make and some great aromatic and herb flavors.
- 2-3 lbs roaster chicken cut into pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp tarragon dried
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup celery minced
- 4 shallots minced
- 4 bay leaves
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven over medium heat place 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and brown the chicken on both sides until it is about ¾ of the way cooked.
- Remove chicken from Dutch oven and place in a 13"x9" oven safe glass dish along with the carrots. Sprinkle with tarragon and set in oven uncovered for about 35 minutes.
- Scrape out the Dutch oven and toss out the scrapings.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the Dutch oven and saute the shallots and the celery until shallots begin to brown slightly.
Add the stock, bay leaves and the wine and bring to a boil. Let it boil for about 2 minutes and turn heat down to medium. Stir in the tomato paste. Reduce the sauce to about 2 cups.
- Remove 1 cup of the juice and set aside.The other cup will be used to baste the chicken that is cooking in the oven. Baste every 5-10 minutes.
- For the cream sauce: Place cream in a small saucepan on medium heat. Slowly add the reserved 1 cup of juice stirring constantly. Reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon(nappe consistency).
- Transfer the chicken from glass dish back to the Dutch oven to serve.
- Pour cream sauce over chicken.
Originally published October 2014 and updated October 2021.
Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life
This looks wonderful! Thank you for sharing it with us at Foodie Fridays...pinning so I can try it! Sending lots of foodie love your way!
Hope you try it soon.
Thanks for pinning.
Oh this looks so good. The chicken must come out so juicy. Looking forward to trying this!
Thanks Cyrus. It is indeed very juicy. 🙂
I'm always on the lookout for great chicken recipes for my personal chef clients and this one certainly fits that bill! Pinned, Yummed and added to my Stumble likes.
Thanks Carol. This is one of my favorites. It's tasty and very easy to make.
Wow, my whole family would love this one!
We love it at our house.
Rachel @ Simple Seasonal
Looks amazing! And I've gotten so many good recipes out of my old and trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook!
Lisa @ Panning The Globe
I loved reading your post - so interesting. When I was younger I didn't like tarragon. My mother-in-law had a great chicken tarragon recipe (she said) and she never made it for me because I was averse to it. But now I love it! I'm going to try your recipe . It looks delicious!
Thanks Lisa. I hope you like it.
This looks like such a fantastic dish - and it's from Betty Crocker which you KNOW means it's good!
This looks absolutely wonderful. What a beautiful dish to cook for the family. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us on Merry Monday.
You are welcome Erlene! It is so yummy especially on a cold evening.
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom
Chicken and tarragon are a match made in heaven! This looks fabulous!
Thanks Kristen! It is so good and comforting, especially on a cold night.
Caroline | carolinescooking
I love tarragon chicken and have made a slightly different version myself, but yours also looks great. I love the history as well - your facts are always so interesting!
Thanks Caroline! How do you make yours? I always welcome different ways of making a dish.
Jade @ Jonesin' For Taste
I love to make this in the slow cooker but having the option to do it on the stove top is great for those days where I just forget to get it in the slow cooker!
🙂 It is great either way. I love using my Dutch oven, and I've been known to forget to turn on the slow cooker.
Ashlyn @ Belle of the Kitchen
I love how this recipe is comprised of ingredients I almost always have on hand. Those are the kinds of recipes I always turn to. Your pictures are gorgeous, Analida! I can't wait to try this!
Hi Ashlyn! Yes, this is a recipe with very common ingredients. Thanks for the compliments on the pictures. I am afraid I can't take credit. My husband does all the photography.
🙂 When you try this, let me know how it turns out.
I love the combination of tarragon & chicken together! Your photos are amazing! I absolutly going to give this recipe a try!
Thanks Cathy, it is a really good dish and very easy to make. I can't take credit for the pics, my husband is the photographer in house. 🙂
This looks awesome Analida. I love your photos too. So pretty. Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs but I never buy it. I was just thinking the other day how I need to buy some. I am definitely making this this week and pinning. Looks like a winner!
Thanks Denise! It is a really taste dish, perfect for the cold weather months.
Good luck making it. Let me know how it turns out.
I made this and it was awesome. Am I missing where you are supposed to add the bay leaves?