Tarragon Chicken

After the last couple of ‘poor wee me’ blogs, here’s something with no complications. A recipe for a really simple but elegant dish that can scale up for a supper party no problem or just be a nice light supper for one.

It always reminds me of a rather lovely, if slightly twattish, boyfriend I had in my early twenties. It was the only dish he could cook but he did do it rather well – unlike most other things. I don’t use as much butter as he did, but it doesn’t really need it.

For value, bone in chicken thighs are the next best to buying a whole chicken. I bought a pack of 8 that were on offer and decanted them into four ziploc bags a couple of weeks ago. I pulled four out of the freezer yesterday planning to make thai curry with two and this dish, but I didn’t get round to the former so I’ll be eating this for a couple of days. But that’s no hardship. Some potatoes tomorrow, and as suggested by @happy_appetite Ross Boyce perhaps some Parisienne gnocchi the next night. That will ring enough changes for me. I’m a creature of habit really.

BKLQm6_CAAAw7o5.jpg-largeServes 1

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp light oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 glass Noilly Prat vermouth or white wine
  • 100 mi water or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • a squeeze of lemon to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • A sprig of tarragon (stalk and about 12 leaves) leaves chopped roughly


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. Heat a small caserole or sauteuse that can go in the oven and add the oil and butter
  3. When the butter foams, add the chicken thighs skin side down and allow to brown. Don’t move them. It’ll take about 5 minutes. Turn and brown on the other sides.
  4. Remove the chicken to a plate and pour off most of the fat from the pan and return to the heat.
  5. Add the garlic and stir for a moment.
  6. Add the Noilly Prat or wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.
  7. Allow the liquid to bubble for a couple of minutes and add the water or stock.
  8. Remove the leaves from the tarragon stalk and set aside. Bruise the stalk with the back of a knife and add to the pan.
  9. Put the chicken back in the pan, skin side up. Cover the pan or caserole and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and put the chicken on a clean plate. Discard the tarragon stalk. Add the cream, to the pan and allow to bubble. Taste the liquor now and add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  11. At the last minute add chopped tarragon. Place the chicken thighs in deep dish and pour the sauce around the chicken.
  12. Serve with fork, knife and a spoon.