Rich, creamy and super easy to make, this Tarragon Chicken is a weeknight dinner that's as comforting as it is delicious! You can totally switch up the herbs if you'd prefer something other than tarragon!
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This recipe is very loosely inspired by a recipe that I found in an old New York Times cookbook. I say loosely because that recipe was for a whole roasted chicken and this is definitely not a whole roasted chicken. But the flavors sounded fantastic, so I created my own version of chicken tarragon.
This was one of those rare recipes that came together pretty nicely on the first test. I only needed to make a few tweeks in the net test to get it perfect. It's rich and decadent cream sauce for chicken but totally quick and easy to make. I made sure to include plenty of sauce so that you can drizzle it over the noodles of you choice (I went for fresh angel hair). And the chicken comes out perfectly cooked!
Now here's the thing about tarragon, it has a pretty distinct flavor. I'd describe it as a subtle black licorice flavor. Now black licorice can be pretty polarizing. J absolutely hated this dish because he cannot stand the flavor of tarragon. And while black licorice definitely isn't a flavor I love, in this particular dish it only adds a hint of that flavor and I think it plays really nicely off of the other. That said, if you really cannot stand the flavor of tarragon, just swap it out for your favorite fresh herb. I have a feeling lemon thyme or oregano would be amazing in this!
Tips for making creamy Chicken Tarragon
- Pound the chicken to around ¼ inch thickness. This allows the dish to cook pretty quickly, making it the perfect weeknight dinner.
- Season the chicken before dredging it in flour to add even more great flavor.
- Manage the temperature. Every stove is a little different and if you feel like it's going to fast, turn it down (or vice versa).
- Don't sear the chicken for more than 2-3 minutes per . side at first. It likely won't be fully cooked when removed from the pan; this is ok. It will finish cooking for the last few minutes when you put it back into the pan with the sauce.
- If shallots aren't available, onions are fine. I chose shallots because I loved the delicate flavor that they add. Onions will change the flavor a little but it'll still be delicious.
- Like most cream sauces, this is best served immediately. The leftovers are still tasty but the cream separates a little after chilling.
- Garlic press
- Large saute pan
- Wooden spoon
- Chef's knife
- Cutting board
- Meat mallet
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- 6 Tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, filleted (slice each piece horizontally into 2 even pieces, so 6 pieces total)
- 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon (or any other fresh herb of your choice), chopped and divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- ¾ cup flour, divided
- ¼ cup shallots, minced
- ¾ cup white wine
- 1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- The pasta of your choice, cooked to al dente as per package directions
- Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-medium high heat.
- While the butter melts, place the filleted chicken breasts onto a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound them to ¼ inch thickness with a meat mallet (you can also use a rolling pin if need be).
- Season the chicken pieces with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon.
- Place ½ cup flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, lightly tapping off the excess.
- When the butter is fully melted and covering the bottom of the skillet, cook the chicken pieces for around 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and remove from the pan into a side plate. Work in batches so you don't overload the pan and if it seems to be drying out, feel free to add a little bit more butter.
- Once the chicken is removed from the pan, melt 4 more tablespoons butter.
- Add the shallots to the pan and saute for around a minute to soften, stirring frequently.
- Stir in 4 tablespoons flour until there are no more lumps. Sauté for another minute until fragrant.
- Add wine and deglaze the pan. Then add chicken broth and heavy cream and stir to fully combine.
- Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.
- Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon to the pan and stir to combine.
- Add the chicken back into the pan and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately over pasta.
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