My 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
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
- In Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to paper towel lined plate to absorb fat.
- Brown chicken (no salt and pepper, bacon will add salt to dish) in bacon fat over medium-high heat.
- Remove chicken from pot and discard all fat.
- Deglaze pan with white wine.
- 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.
- Remove thighs from pot and pour sauce into a heat safe dish.
- Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir to combine.
- Cook roux, stirring the entire time until it is lightly colored, 2-5 minutes.
- Add reserved sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until sauce is thickened.
- Re-season with salt and pepper and a dash or two of Champagne vinegar as needed.
- Add chicken back to pot to reheat.