Tarragon chicken

Tarragon has a mild aniseed flavour and pairing it with chicken is a classic French dish (poulet a l’estragon). This recipe is from one of my favourite old recipe books – Pan-cooked chicken dishes around the world. I bought the book years ago at a charity shop and would never want to be without it. In that book it’s in the Spanish section and called Andalusian chicken with sherry.  

I grow tarragon in my garden so I always have some on hand. If you can’t find fresh tarragon for this recipe I wouldn’t use dried – make something else instead. I have seen recipes suggesting the use of dried tarragon but that seems really wrong. The clue’s in the title! When you put the fresh tarragon in the pan and the kitchen fills with a lovely aroma, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Serves four.


  • 1 lemon
  • 6 x tarragon sprigs
  • 4 x chicken breasts, skinned and boned and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 8 x shallots, peeled
  • 4 x garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 75ml dry sherry
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp créme fraiche


  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest off the lemon and cut into thin strips. Squeeze the lemon juice and coarsely chop the tarragon.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chicken for a few minutes on each side until browned, remove from the pan, Add the shallots and garlic and fry over a gentle heat for five minutes, stirring.
  3. Stir in the lemon zest, tarragon, sherry and chicken stock. Stir well, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil and return the chicken to the pan.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and rest for at least five minutes, keeping warm. Stir the créme fraiche into the sauce and bring to the boil until reduced. Season to taste.
  5. Slice the chicken and serve with the shallots and the sauce, decorated with a sprig of tarragon.




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