Pan-Seared Chicken with Tarragon Butter Sauce

June 6th, 2014

Chicken with Tarragon 1

The marriage of chicken and tarragon is a perfect match.  I have been making versions of this dish since the early years of our marriage.  I would say that chicken with tarragon and rice is one of David’s favorite dishes.  Most of the time I cut up a whole chicken, saute it in butter until it is browned, add wine and tarragon and cook covered on low until it is done.  I serve it with a rice pilau flavored with chicken broth and tarragon.

Chicken with tarragon 2V

But this quick version is also a favorite.  I bought a package of chicken tenderloins, removed the white tendons, pounded them very thin and then sauteed them in butter until cooked through.  This took minutes.  The sauce was cooked separately and was redolent with shallots, wine, lemon juice, tarragon and butter.  I have fresh tarragon growing in a pot on my deck and love clipping the pretty green leaves.  But if you don’t have fresh tarragon, dry can be used.

Chicken with tarragon 3

This is an easy dish that is even good enough for company.  Serve it with rice pilau and blanched and sauteed green beans for a lovely meal.  The tarragon makes it special.


1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1/2 stick butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes.divided
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins, tendons removed, pounded thin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Cook shallot in 1 tablespoon butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add wine and boil until most of liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Set aside.

Pat prepared chicken dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute chicken in batches, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through.  Transfer as cooked to a platter and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

Return shallot mixture to moderately low heat and add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, 1 cube at a time, whisking until incorporated.  Remove from heat and whisk in tarragon, parsley, and lemon juice.  Spoon sauce over chicken.

Printable Recipe


12 responses to “Pan-Seared Chicken with Tarragon Butter Sauce”

  1. Barbara Williams says:

    Almost like a piccata! We don’t use tarragon nearly enough. I agree, it’s wonderful with chicken. This is a yummy dish, Penny. I can see why it’s a favorite.

  2. Sam Hoffer says:

    I’m with Barbara. Tarragon is an underused herb. Your chicken looks fabulous and certainly could become a family favorite in our house.

  3. Penny says:

    I have tarragon growing in my herb garden too. I love to use it in a French style potato salad I make. Your chicken looks so good.

  4. KathyWalker says:

    You are right! Tarragon and chicken are a perfect match. Your sauce sounds heavenly….I think I will be harvesting some tarragon this weekend! Thank you!

  5. Lemon Tart says:

    Penny this looks fabulous. Tarragon is my sister’s favorite herb so I will make it for her next visit. I am also jealous of the other Penny that has it growing in her garden. Pinning. It is like gourmet fast-food.


  6. Jane says:

    Delicious! I’m going to add tarragon to my herb garden!


  7. cheri says:

    Oh my goodness, this looks so elegant! love the addition of tarragon in the sauce.

  8. Susan says:

    Beautiful food styling, Penny! You’ve really captured the phrase “we eat with our eyes first” because I want to run out and buy chicken and snip tarragon 🙂 I just potted herbs a couple of weeks ago and my tarragon is very happy! I love it in chicken dishes and sprinkled over summer salads.

  9. Larry says:

    This sounds delicious Penny and your presentation is outstanding – now I’m off to look up the meaning of “redolent”. sure enjoyed visiting with you and David.

  10. Ti Reed says:

    This looks amazing.

  11. Katie says:

    This recipe is delicious! The sauce is very flavorful. When I make it again, and I will, I am going to triple the sauce to have it for tossing in pasta.

  12. Jami says:

    Hello, I don’t have access to fresh tarragon at the moment. I was wondering if you might be able to use dried tarragon instead of fresh. If so, what amount would you use? Thank you so much!

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.