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Tarragon Chicken

ceramic platter from Fifty One and a Half


Here is an oldie but a goodie.  I made this dish a lot when I was first married.  It was simple, lowfat and it felt like a fancy dish even if it wasn't.  Most of the items are things you already have on hand, so there isn't a lot of special items to get - maybe just the fresh tarragon.  It's quick to make, too.  You can have this dish on the table within 30 minutes.  

You know how much I dislike chicken breasts.  Blah.  Can't stand them.  So for me, the only way to enjoy them is to do something wonderful to them, like cooking them in this delicious sauce.  If it was up to me, I would totally swap out chicken breasts in this dish for my beloved chicken thighs but I know a lot of you do enjoy chicken breasts.  My husband doesn't like dark meat so a great way to fix this dish is to just make a combination of white meat and dark meat.  So feel free to do what suits you. You can certainly do a whole chicken, cut up, and just double the mushrooms and sauce.


Tarragon Chicken

For a printable recipe, click here

For company, I make this recipe with butter.  For a regular weeknight meal, I omit the butter and just use olive oil.  You can also make a combination of dark and white meat if you want or even use a whole cut up chicken and just double the sauce.

makes 4 portions

this recipe is easily doubled


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons butter (optional), divided
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon


Prep the chicken breasts.  If they are very large, cut them in half.  You should have six pieces. Place the breasts between two sheets of wax paper and pound them with a meat pounder until they are about 1/2 inch thick.  They need to be uniform in size so they are not so thick and cook evenly.  Season each piece with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour and set aside.

In a large fry pan, heat the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the butter and saute the mushrooms slowly over medium heat until slightly golden and soft, about 10 minutes.  As they cook, add a couple of grindings of black pepper and stir the mushrooms periodically.  Remove the mushrooms from the pan but do not wipe out the pan.

Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and after it has melted, add the chicken breasts.  Saute the chicken until each side is golden, just a couple of minutes each side.  Remove the chicken to a plate.  

Add the white wine to the pan.  It will sizzle.  Let it cook for a couple of minutes, stirring the bottom of the pan and releasing all the cooked "fond" - this is deglazing the pan.  Add the tomato paste and chicken broth and half of the fresh tarragon and stir until the tomato paste has completely been blended.  Return the chicken breasts and mushroom back to the pan.  Immediately turn the chicken over, so both sides get covered with the sauce. Lower the heat to low and cover the pan and cook gently for about 10 minutes.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt if needed.  Remove the chicken breasts to a platter, pour the mushrooms and sauce over and garnish with the rest of the fresh tarragon.  


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Reader Comments (24)

This sounds and looks really good, I think I will need make this soon. My week is going to be quite busy but, with this recipe I'll be able to make a really good meal very quickly. I'll just add some brown rice, a veggie and throw some lettuce on a plate (with style of course) and there ya go!

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered

This looks wonderful. I have a ton of tarragon in my herb garden that needs to be used before the first frost.

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

This sounds scrumptious! Tarragon is a wonderful flavor. I, too, do not like white meat. So dry!

Love this site, Elaine!! It's been a great help cooking my Mom's recipes. She used a "poco" of this and a "poco" of that. And her hands were smaller than mine, too. lol She was a wonderful cook.

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterToni

I love the combination of Chicken, white wine, and tarragon. I would prefer to make this with bome in thights...Can I assume the only difference might be a little more cooking time? thanks for this.

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjcs

I can't even remember how I found The Italian Dish but everything I've made has been delicious. Can't wait to make this - and since I work full time - it's a quick tasty meal that can be made any night of the week.

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie Damascus

This looks wonderful, Elaine! I will try this soon!

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeta

Looks delicious! We have a "mixed" family too. I'm a fan of white meat and my husband prefers dark. I like to make a couple of each to make us both happy.

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

made this tonight....absolutely fabulous

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenn


November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSue

As I made this for dinner, I wondered how many others were also cooking this and experiencing the same joy we did at the dinner table tonight. It was wonderful.. Thank you!

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Amazing dish!

November 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterspoonstories

Don't know where your posts have been BUT SO GLAD THEY ARE BACK!!! spent yesterday pinning and zipping many of your recipes! WELCOME BACK TO MY EMAIL :)

November 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVick

Just found your site a few days ago, while looking for a better ricotta recipe than the one I currently use, and I spent all evening reading every last post!!! Italian Dish is my new favorite blog... I love all you are doing! I am inspired to try many of your recipes. Since today was shopping day... I purchased ingredients for the hazelnut semi-friedo and the steak with verde sauce for this weekend. My family is going to LOVE ME!

I made the Tarragon Chicken tonight... the sauce was perfect! Easy and very flavorful.

I am looking forward to developing a long and loving relationship with you... lol
: )

November 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Delicious! Made this recipe tonight my boyfriend loved it but next time I will be using more mushrooms and using a sweeter wine for the sauce! I omitted the butter and the sauce was not enough. All in all great recipe!

November 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

found this recipe super super easy, which i love! but found it to be a little tasteless. could have been the wine I used - any suggestions? thanks.

November 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commentervanessa.t

This tarragon chicken looks divine! I will be making it very soon! Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs and I cook with it often. I love the pictures here and I hope mine turn out as lovely!

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercooks42

Very good recipe. But I can no longer find fresh tarragon (the True French variety, not the Russian, which is only a weed) in shops in Italy. Some used to have it, but it has disappeared. The Italians don't know it, and what they don't know they don't want. I arrived in Italy in 1970 and have lived here ever since. THe mother of my wife (both Italians) had never eaten broad beans!
Where the something something can I now find fresh tarragon?

September 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTim Keates

I made this tonight for dinner and it was really wonderful! Easy to make and really delicious. I paired it with a white bean and radish salad.

July 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSeaAnita

@ Toni The only reason boneless chicken is ever dry is that it has been over cooked. It is not the selection of the meat, it is the lose of maintaining a close watch over it. Same is true of pork. A chef once told me, 'if it looks done, you have waited too long'. Same can be said for boneless chicken breasts.

August 8, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbaltisraul

I made this tonight for dinner, I have to say it was extremely bland. As a chef, I should have known an Italian recipe with no garlic would be no good. The picture enticed me. I used a mixture of mushrooms, other then that, I followed the directions. Bottom line very blah!

April 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarq

From The Italian Dish:

Marq: Gee, I'm so sorry you didn't like the dish! I've been making it for 25 years and we love it. The tomato paste, mushroom, wine and broth all add a lot of flavor. I don't understand how it was bland. Sorry!

April 29, 2016 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Had a fave recipe for tarragon chicken which I still love but this one is even better. My family all commented on how great it was. My garden is bursting with tarragon so added more than the recipe called for .... but I do love tarragon.

June 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Chicken with tarragon is good. I have been living in Italy for nearly 50 years and, to my delight, about 15 years ago some supermarkets here began to provide tarragon. But people didn't know it, didn't want it, so it is no longer obtainable — unless, exceptionally, in the Russian variety (which is just a weed). You need true French tarragon. Unknown to the Italians. They have some great regional cuisines — but they are afraid of novelty: they want great grandma's famous ragù over and over and over again. So, when I go back to the UK every year, I buy a few packets of real tarragon, and, coming back to Italy, I serve my guests with Poulet à l'estragon, sauce béarnaise, etc. Wonderful! they say. And what is that interesting flavour in the sauce? It's really genuine tarragon — unobtainable in Italy, alas!

June 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTim Keates

This was so delicious!! Thank you so much for creating this yumminess. I used 1 Tbsp of dried tarragon instead of fresh because that's what I had on hand and it worked great! Will definitely cook more of your recipes. :)

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKatie C

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