Roast Tarragon Chicken (Poulet à L’Estragon)

This is a simple comfort food recipe, perfect for a lazy Sunday dinner. It is adapted from my cookbook of the moment, Darina Allen’s ‘Forgotten Skills of Cooking’. I am slightly addicted to tarragon, I add it to just about everything, so a dish where it is the key flavour is my idea of heaven. According to the Larousse Gastronomique, tarragon was known in the past to be used as a cure for snakebite. It does not say if this worked, or if it was more of a have a nice bearnaise as your last meal kind of situation.

I have a pathological fear of snakes. This is possibly made worse by the fact that I grew up in one of only countries in the world without them, Ireland, thanks to St Patrick or glacial formations, depending on which side of reality you come down on. Although they are apparently rare in Denmark, my boyfriend managed to nearly stand on the only poisonous type of snake in the country (the first time he had ever seen one) while we were out walking a few months back, so I am not taking any chances, and plan on incorporating tarragon into my life in any way I can manage, just in case the Larousse is on to something.

This easily makes enough for 4, probably more since two of us ended up eating it for three days straight in various guises.


  • 1 whole chicken (I used one that was about 1.5kg)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 25g butter plus a little extra for browning the chicken
  • 150ml cream
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 1 lemon
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 teaspoons of white wine or tarragon vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon approx of flour


  • In a large saucepan or casserole dish big enough to fit the chicken melt a small amount of butter.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of tarragon with  the butter and smear the chicken with it.
  • Season the cavity of the chicken, add a sprig or two of tarragon, the lemon chopped in two and the garlic.
  • Brown the chicken on both sides in the casserole/pot.
  • Season the chicken and put it in the oven at 180C to cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes in the oven covered with a lid.
  • Remove the lid for the last 10 minutes to crisp the skin a bit on the breast.
  • Test to see if it is cooked by sticking a skewer between the breast and thighs and checking to make sure the juices run clear.
  • Remove and leave to sit for 15 minutes.
  • Pour the juices from the chicken into a saucepan along with the stock, cream and remaining tarragon.
  • Bring to the boil for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
  • If it does not thicken, mix equal parts flour and water in a jar to form a paste and add it a little at a time to thicken the sauce (it will still be quite liquid).
  • You can add a little vinegar to sharpen the sauce if desired.
  • Season the sauce well and serve with the roasted chicken.

7 thoughts on “Roast Tarragon Chicken (Poulet à L’Estragon)

  1. Lovely combination of flavours and a fun fact to boot! I wonder what might happen if one crossed the path of a snake (and whipped out) a bouquet of Tarragon? Perhaps the scents might do one thing, entice or deter? I’m hoping for the latter 😉

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