Food Friday: Chicken Tarragon

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite cookbook du jour is Wini Moranville’s The Bonne Femme Cookbook.  The cooking style is very simplistic, uses fresh whole foods and relies on herbs and cooking techniques for flavor.  Real butter and heavy cream are used, but relatively small amounts: a typical recipe for 4 might have 2 T of butter, for example. A surprising number of the recipes are actually paleo-friendly (desserts, of course, are the exception to the rule).

My favorite section in the book is “Sauté, Deglaze and Serve” which is just as simple as it sounds. Sauté your protein, deglaze the pan and add a few herbs to make a sauce, then serve. Super easy!  This recipe for Chicken Tarragon is a perfect example.


Tarragon is a quintessential French herb, with a strong taste of anise (licorice). A little goes a long way when it’s fresh, although the flavor mellows in cooking. Combined with scallions, butter and tomato, it blends to a rich melt-in-your mouth sauce.

Recipe Modifications

  • The recipe called for 1.25 lbs of chicken, but the chicken breasts I got from Costco were enormous, weighing in at a full pound each.  I used one, sliced it in half across, then sliced each half horizontally as they were very thick and the recipe calls for pounding them down to 1/4″ thickness anyway.
  • Additionally the recipe called for tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar. I used apple cider vinegar.
  • I didn’t bother peeling or seeding the tomatoes
  • Finally, the recipe says it makes 4 servings.  If you’re serving it with a starchy side like rice or bread, I can see that. In my case, though, I only ate the chicken and a side of Brussels sprouts, so I had a double serving.  It still came out to barely 400 calories, including the sprouts!

Now let’s get started!

Chicken Tarragon


4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1.25 lbs)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 T unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, chopped and seeded
3/4 c dry white wine
1 T tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 T fresh snipped tarragon


  1. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Alternatively you can halve them horizontally. Season on both sides with salt and pepper
  2. In a large skillet, melt 1 T of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chicken (in batches, if necessary) and cook, turning once, until no longer pink inside, about 6-8 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if the meat browns too quickly). Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
  3. Add the shallot and tomatoes to the skillet and sauce briefly, until the shallot is translucent. Add the wine, stirring with a whisk to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and boil until the wine is reduced by about half — this should take 2 – 3 minutes depending on the heat and your pan size.
  4. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the remaining 2 T butter,  1 tablespoon at a time, until the butter is melted and the sauce is thickened. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the tarragon. Arrange the chicken on four dinner plates, spoon the sauce over the chicken and server.

As I mentioned, this produced 2 servings for me.  As such, I had one for dinner and immediately put the other serving in a container for lunch the next day.




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