Bacon + Chicken + Cream = Goodness

Tarragon ChickenMy early childhood was spent in Grenoble, France, where dinner at my parents’ friends house happened weekly. Our friend Marie-France’s specialty was Poulet a l’Estragon (Tarragon Chicken): a whole cut up chicken, braised in a mixture of bacon, crème fraiche, white wine and tarragon. It was a childhood favorite of mine. Who can resist creamy, bacon-ey chicken?

Last week, my cousin, Michelle, asked me for a new way to cook chicken thighs. I modified the original tarragon chicken recipe to be less fatty and yet retain the strong chicken flavor that you get from braising a whole bird.

If you’d like to cook a whole cut-up chicken the way Marie-France used to make it, modify the recipe below by adding 3 slices of bacon, adjusting the wine to 1 1/2 cup, changing the crème fraiche/cream to 2 cups and no chicken broth. Since there’s so much cream in the whole chicken version of the recipe, making a roux to thicken the sauce is unnecessary.

I reduce my chicken broth to about 2/3. I like my tarragon chicken with a little rice one the side and french bread. Bon appétit!

Poulet a l’Estragon/Tarragon Chicken with Bacon

3 slices thick smoked bacon (I use applewood), cut into 1/2″ pieces
6 chicken thighs
2 tsp. fresh chopped tarragon or 1 tsp. dried
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups reduced chicken broth
1/4 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
salt and pepper
Champagne vinegar

Roux
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour

  1. In Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to paper towel lined plate to absorb fat.
  2. Brown chicken (no salt and pepper, bacon will add salt to dish) in bacon fat over medium-high heat.
  3. Remove chicken from pot and discard all fat.
  4. Deglaze pan with white wine.
  5. Add cream, tarragon, chicken broth, chicken and bacon to pot, braise covered at a low simmer for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, turning chicken halfway through cooking.
  6. Remove thighs from pot and pour sauce into a heat safe dish.
  7. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir to combine.
  8. Cook roux, stirring the entire time until it is lightly colored, 2-5 minutes.
  9. Add reserved sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until sauce is thickened.
  10. Re-season with salt and pepper and a dash or two of Champagne vinegar as needed.
  11. Add chicken back to pot to reheat.

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