Seasoned pan-fried chicken breasts in a delicious creamy tarragon sauce. Quick and easy to prepare, it's a great comfort food dinner, ready in less than 30 minutes.
It works equally well for a speedy mid-week meal, or for a special weekend or date-night dinner.
My favourite things about this recipe:
- Minimal ingredients
- Quick to prepare
- Simple, straightforward steps
- Provides that OMG moment when you taste it
Oh yes, THIS is that recipe. Simple ingredients that come together in this super easy, darn tasty dinner. I also think the sauce is rather fancy - like something you'd get in a French restaurant - rich, creamy and full of flavour.
Just take a look at the ingredients below, you probably have everything in already. Possibly with the exception of the tarragon. I'm not sure I use tarragon in anything else (hmmmm, need to rectify that), which is why it's great that this recipe works equally well with dried tarragon (which lasts for ages) as it does with fresh.
📋 What do we need?
- Chicken: I use skinless, chicken breast fillets, but you can use thigh fillets if you prefer (I'd use 2 per person if using thighs).
- Cream: Double (heavy) cream is needed in this recipe to make the sauce luscious. You can use creme fraiche if you prefer, but that does have a slightly tangier taste. I don't recommend using low fat cream, as low fat dairy products have a tendency to split in sauces.
- Tarragon: I use dried tarragon in may sauce, then I like to sprinkle on a few fresh tarragon leaves at the end, but you can use either or both. Tarragon has a lovely aniseed/liquorice flavour to it, and is quite strong. If you're not used to it, go easy on how much you add. You can always add an extra sprinkle at the end.
- Stock: I use chicken stock - it doesn't have to be homemade stock (although that is rather lovely), a simple stock made with water and stock cubes works just fine for this recipe..
- Wine: I use white wine but if you prefer alcohol free just swap the wine for an extra half cup of stock and a little squeeze of lemon juice.
📺 Watch how to make it
Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Sauté the seasoned chicken breasts on one side, then turn them over and push to the side of the pan (a large frying pan is needed), add in onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened.
- Next we add in the liquid. First off is wine, which we simmer until almost all of it has evaporated. The wine goes in at this point to deglaze the pan and add a little bit of acidity to the dish, but it needs to bubble away for a couple of minutes to ensure the sauce doesn't have a raw-wine taste. After the wine, we add stock, dried or fresh tarragon, and then the cream.
- Bring to the boil, then simmer for a couple of minutes until thickened and the chicken is cooked through. I like to serve mine topped with some fresh tarragon and cracked black pepper, but if you don't want to buy fresh tarragon, that's fine - just top with a little pepper at the end and it will still be wonderful.
👩🍳PRO TIP This is a quick and easy meal, but if you are in a rush, you could bash the chicken a little with a rolling pin to flatten it out, which will cook more evenly and take less time.
Cream and white wine, a combination no French restaurant would be without, a classic pairing like Tarragon and Chicken, so you know this is going to be good when all of these ingredients come together in this divine dish, comforting, nostalgic and oh so good.
Can I make it ahead?
Because this dish is pretty quick to make, I usually make and serve it immediately. However, it does reheat really well.
If you want to cook it ahead, make the dish, then quickly cool, cover and refrigerate.
Take it out of the refrigerator half and hour before you want to reheat it, to take some of the chill off the dish, then place in a pan and cover with a lid or foil and reheat over a medium heat, for about 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is piping hot throughout.
The sauce will be thicker due to the extra cooking, so you can add in a splash of water or stock or cream to thin it out a little when reheating if you like.
Can I freeze it?
Yes, leftovers should be quickly cooled, covered and frozen. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as per the 'make ahead' instructions above.
- Swap the chicken breasts for chicken thighs fillets, turkey breast steaks or pork chops.
- Swap the wine for vermouth, or if you prefer alcohol free, just add an extra half cup of stock. along with a little squeeze of lemon juice.
- Add in some vegetables if you like. I sometimes stir in a large handful or spinach at the end, or I'll throw sliced green beans into the sauce with the onions and garlic.
How to scale up and scale down this recipe:
You can double the recipe to serve 8 or halve the recipe to serve 2, sticking to the same ingredient ratios.
If you're doubling the recipe, you'll need to seal the chicken breasts in two batches, and it will take a few minutes longer to reduce the wine down. You will also need to simmer the chicken breasts in the sauce for 5-10 minutes longer to ensure the chicken breasts all fully cooked and piping hot throughout.
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- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 chicken breasts - (about 175g each)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 small onion - peeled and finely diced
- 2 minced cloves garlic
- 120 ml (½ cup) white wine - *see note for non-alcohol version
- 120 ml (½ cup) chicken stock - (water + 1 stock cube is fine)
- 1 tsp dried tarragon - or 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 180 ml (¾ cup) double (heavy) cream
- Small bunch of fresh tarragon - roughly torn
- Black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat.
- Take the chicken breasts and sprinkle the salt and pepper over both sides.
- Add the chicken breasts to the pan, and cook for about 3 minutes one side, until sealed and golden.
- Turn the chicken over and move them to one side of the pan.
- Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring the onions often, until the onions are soft.
- Add in the white wine, and allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the wine has nearly all evaporated.
- Add the chicken stock and dried or fresh tarragon, then pour in the cream.
- Stir together and bring to the boil.
- Simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, until the sauce has thickened, and the chicken is completely cooked through.
- Serve the chicken and sauce sprinkled with a little more fresh tarragon and black pepper.
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