When I started organizing the recipes for my blog, the Chicken Tarragon in lemon cream sauce was one of the recipes that was on the top of my list to share with all of you. When recently a dear friend asked me to share this recipe, it moved even further up on the list and I decided to share it today. This recipe is easy to prepare and you are going to be amazed at how delicious it is. The chicken breast is tenderized and pan seared with little butter and cooked in fresh lemon juice over a high temperature. You probably could fit the two chicken breasts in a smaller skillet than a 12-inch, but I wouldn’t recommend it because this will cause more juice to collect in the pan and the chicken will poach instead of being seared to a perfect golden brown. The chicken is very moist and tender inside absorbing all the tangy fresh lemon juice, and the cream sauce has a hint of lemon mixed with aromatic tarragon and tastes wonderful.
When buying the tarragon, make sure it is the fragrant French tarragon, the other varieties are not very flavorful.
Place one chicken breast half in a plastic bag
Pound it to 1/2-inch thickness, use the same bag for the other piece
Spread some minced garlic on one side of each piece
Chop the tarragon
Sprinkle it evenly on each piece
Sprinkle some kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
Heat up the oil in a large non-stick skillet, add chicken with the seasoned side down, then sprinkle the top with the remaining tarragon, salt and pepper. And maybe a little more garlic if you love it as much as I do!
When one side is golden brown, flip the pieces and brown the other side
Turn the heat up a bit and add fresh lemon juice
When the lemon juice is reduced add the heavy cream
Turn the pieces a few times until the cream thickens
- 2 TBSP (1 ounce) unsalted butter
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8-10 ounces each)
- 3 tsp minced fresh garlic
- 4 TBSP chopped fresh French tarragon leaves or 4 tsp dried tarragon, divided
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt, divided
- ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, divided
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ -2/3 cup heavy cream
- Remove all fat from the chicken breasts. Place the pieces one at a time inside a plastic bag. This is to prevent splatter during the pounding.
- Use a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken breast down to ½-inch thickness on a sturdy cutting board. Transfer the chicken to a plate and use the same bag for pounding the other piece.
- Spread 1 tsp minced garlic on one side of each breast.
- Sprinkle 1 TBSP fresh tarragon leaves, or 1 tsp dried tarragon leaves on each piece.
- Sprinkle each with half of the salt and pepper. Use the back of a spatula to gently press down the seasoning over the breasts.
- Heat the butter in a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
- Add the chicken breasts seasoned side down to the skillet. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining tarragon leaves, chopped garlic, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper evenly. Without covering the skillet, brown the chicken for about 7 minutes, or until it is golden brown.
- Use a spatula or a pair of tongs to flip the pieces to the other side and brown for an additional 5 minutes, until golden brown.
- Increase the heat to medium high and drizzle fresh lemon juice over the chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Flip the breasts and cook for another 2 minutes, until most of the lemon juice is reduced.
- Add ½ -2/3 cup heavy cream to the skillet. The amount of cream you add is a matter of personal preference as to how much cream sauce you would like at the end. This recipe works great with either amount you choose to use.
- Reduce the heat back to medium and turn the breasts couple of times so both sides cook in the cream until it thickens.
- Serve with a side of wild rice, potatoes or pasta, and steamed vegetables. Spoon the cream sauce over the cooked chicken breasts.