Easy Delia Smith Tarragon Chicken Recipe

Easy Delia Smith Tarragon Chicken Recipe
Yields: 6 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 40 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr

Today, I’m excited to share with you how to make Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken. This recipe is wonderfully simple and yet absolutely delicious. It combines chicken with the distinct taste of tarragon, all wrapped up in a creamy sauce. It’s a perfect choice for any dinner where you want to impress but without too much fuss. This dish serves 4-6 people and can be ready in about an hour.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to create Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken, sharing valuable insights and techniques to ensure your dish is a success every time.

What is Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken?

Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken is a refined poultry dish that showcases the delicate taste of tarragon, paired with chicken and a creamy sauce. The herb’s slight aniseed flavor elevates the chicken, creating a meal that is both comforting and sophisticated.

Delia Smith Tarragon Chicken Recipe
Delia Smith Tarragon Chicken

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Flavorful and Aromatic: The tarragon imparts a unique, herbaceous flavor that makes this dish stand out.
  • Elegantly Simple: Despite its gourmet appeal, this recipe is straightforward to prepare.
  • Versatile: Perfect for various occasions, from casual family dinners to formal gatherings.

Ingredients Needed for Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken

  • Chicken Breasts: 4 large, boneless and skinless
  • Fresh Tarragon: 2 tablespoons, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • White Wine: 150ml, dry
  • Heavy Cream: 300ml
  • Butter: 2 tablespoons
  • Olive Oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Chicken Stock: 100ml
  • Dijon Mustard: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and Pepper: to taste

Instructions to Make Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken

Step 1: Preparing the Chicken

  • Season and Sear: Begin by seasoning the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken breasts and sear until golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Step 2: Creating the Sauce

  • Sauté Garlic: In the same pan, add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Deglaze: Pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.
  • Add Tarragon and Stock: Stir in the chopped tarragon and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid by half.
  • Creamy Finish: Lower the heat and stir in the heavy cream and Dijon mustard. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly.

Step 3: Combining the Elements

  • Return Chicken to Pan: Add the seared chicken breasts back into the pan, spooning the sauce over them. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Garnish and Serve: Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a serving platter. If needed, adjust the sauce’s seasoning, then pour it over the chicken. Garnish with additional fresh tarragon before serving.

Easy Delia Smith Tarragon Chicken

What Do I Serve With Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken?

  • Creamy Mashed Potatoes: A side of smooth, buttery mashed potatoes makes a perfect companion, soaking up the delicious sauce.
  • Steamed Green Beans: For a lighter side, crisp green beans offer a fresh contrast to the creamy sauce.
  • Roasted Asparagus: Their earthy flavor complements the aromatic tarragon beautifully.
  • Wild Rice Pilaf: A fragrant and nutty wild rice pilaf can add texture and substance to your meal.
  • Crusty Bread: Ideal for mopping up the remaining sauce, ensuring not a drop goes to waste.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken

  • Use Fresh Tarragon: The flavor of fresh tarragon is incomparable to dried. It truly makes a difference in this dish.
  • Don’t Overcook the Chicken: Keep the chicken moist and tender by avoiding overcooking. It should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  • Let the Sauce Thicken: Allow the sauce to reduce and thicken to concentrate the flavors. Patience is key!
  • Adjust Seasoning: Taste the sauce before serving and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Sometimes a little extra salt or a splash of wine can elevate the dish further.

Variations of Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken

  • Mushroom Tarragon Chicken: Add sliced mushrooms to the pan when sautéing the garlic for an earthy twist.
  • Tarragon Chicken with Leeks: Replace the garlic with finely sliced leeks for a subtle, sweet onion flavor.
  • Cream-Free Tarragon Chicken: For a lighter version, substitute the heavy cream with a blend of milk and a tablespoon of flour to thicken the sauce.
  • Spicy Tarragon Chicken: Introduce a pinch of chili flakes to the sauce for those who enjoy a bit of heat.

How do I Store Tarragon Chicken Delia Leftovers?

Storing your Tarragon Chicken Delia leftovers properly means you can enjoy this delightful meal even on a busy night.

Here’s how to keep it fresh and tasty:

  • Cool Before Storing: Ensure the chicken has cooled to room temperature before storing to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Airtight Containers: Transfer leftovers into airtight containers to keep the chicken moist and the sauce from drying out.
  • Refrigerate Promptly: Place the containers in the refrigerator as soon as possible, ideally within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Label and Date: Mark the containers with the date, so you know when it’s time to eat them up or freeze for later use.
  • Freezing Option: For longer storage, you can freeze the chicken in suitable freezer bags or containers. Just make sure it’s tightly sealed.

How do I Reheat Tarragon Chicken Delia Leftovers?

Reheating Tarragon Chicken Delia leftovers properly will help retain its moisture and flavor.

Here’s the best way to enjoy it as if it were freshly made:

  • Oven Method: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the chicken and sauce in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and heat for about 20 minutes, or until hot through.
  • Stovetop Revival: Pour the chicken and sauce into a skillet. Heat on a medium-low setting, covered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is warmed thoroughly.
  • Microwave Magic: For a quick option, transfer a serving to a microwave-safe dish. Cover with a microwave-safe lid or wrap and heat on medium power in 1-minute intervals, stirring the sauce occasionally, until hot.
  • Avoid High Heat: To keep the chicken tender, avoid reheating it on high heat as it can dry out the meat and split the sauce.
  • Add Moisture if Needed: If the sauce has thickened too much, stir in a little water or stock before reheating to bring back its creamy consistency.


Can I Use Dried Tarragon Instead of Fresh?

Yes, you can use dried tarragon if fresh is not available. The general rule of thumb is to use one-third the amount of dried tarragon as you would fresh, due to its more concentrated flavor. For this recipe, if it calls for 2 tablespoons of fresh tarragon, you can substitute with about 2 teaspoons of dried tarragon. Just remember to add it to the sauce early enough so it can rehydrate and infuse its flavor into the dish.

What Type of White Wine Works Best for Tarragon Chicken?

For Tarragon Chicken, you want to use a dry white wine that complements the delicate flavor of the tarragon without overpowering it. Good options include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay (unoaked), or Pinot Grigio. These wines add a nice acidity to the sauce that balances the richness of the cream. Always choose a wine you would enjoy drinking, as the flavor will concentrate as the sauce reduces.

How Can I Thicken the Sauce if It’s Too Runny?

If you find the sauce for your Tarragon Chicken too runny, there are a couple of ways to thicken it. One method is to let it simmer uncovered for a few minutes longer, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate. Another option is to mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water to create a slurry, then whisk this into your sauce over medium heat until it thickens to your liking. Just be sure to stir continuously to avoid any lumps.

Can Tarragon Chicken Be Made in Advance?

Yes, Tarragon Chicken can be made in advance, making it perfect for meal prep or entertaining. Prepare the recipe up to the point of adding the chicken back into the sauce. Let it cool, then store it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, gently reheat the chicken in the sauce over low heat until warmed through. This method helps maintain the moisture and flavor of the chicken, ensuring it tastes just as good as when it was first made.

Nutritional Values (per serving, based on 6 servings):

  • Calories: Approximately 350 kcal
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 27g (Saturated Fat: 15g)
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Cholesterol: 95mg
  • Sodium: 200mg

Final Words

Delia Smith’s Tarragon Chicken is more than just a recipe; it’s a journey into the heart of home cooking, blending simplicity with sophistication. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a culinary novice, this dish offers a rewarding experience, promising to delight your palate and impress your guests. Embrace the opportunity to infuse your kitchen with the elegant flavors of tarragon and chicken, and enjoy the rich, comforting embrace of this timeless classic.

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