This delicious tarragon chicken with creamy mushroom sauce is one of my favourite dishes. Crispy chicken thighs are combined with a lovely, creamy mushroom sauce, flavoured with a bit of tarragon and grainy mustard. Simple enough for weeknights, but also a great dish for entertaining!
This delicious chicken recipe is one of my all-time favourites. The flavours in this sauce are fabulous – licking the plate fabulous! The healthy addition of white wine, the fresh tarragon, the grainy mustard and the cream make this the perfect dish for a special meal or entertaining!
I love these flavours so much, that I’ve found ways to adapt this recipe so it’s a bit lightened up and streamlined for a quick and delicious weeknight meal, too.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Chicken – I’ve used bone-in, skin on chicken thighs here, but bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts will also work, with extended cooking time.
Tarragon – tarragon can be a divisive herb. You either love it or hate it. It is a dominant flavour in this dish, so hopefully you are in the lover camp :)
Mushrooms – white button mushrooms are specified, but cremini mushrooms will also work just fine.
Heavy Cream – Heavy cream is recommended, as the high fat content prevents the cream sauce from splitting with the acidic wine sauce. If you don’t have heavy cream, or you don’t want to use it, substitute a lightly cream and increase the thickening at the end. You could also use some full fat, Greek Yogurt.
White Wine – use any white wine you enjoy drinking. If you don’t have or want to cook with wine, simply omit and increase the chicken stock to 2 cups.
Grainy Mustard – This dish uses grainy mustard. Look for it in with the Dijon mustards at your grocery store. It’s the one that’s full of mustard seeds. I’m a fan of Maille’s Moutarde a L’ancienne. It’s much more kid-friendly, at least it was in my household, as it’s not nearly as assertive as regular Dijon mustard. The mustard seeds also add great texture to the dish. If you can’t find grainy mustard or don’t have on hand, go with regular Dijon mustard, but reduce the amount to taste.
- Use boneless chicken breast or thighs and cut in to bite-sized pieces (or try it with butterflied boneless breasts). Cook completely in the skillet and remove to a plate rather than in to the oven.
- Use dried tarragon leaves in place of fresh tarragon, so no trip to the grocery store is needed :)
- Replace the healthy dose of wine, with just a splash to de-glaze the pan after you sauté the mushrooms.
- Replace the heavy cream with a lower fat cream (half and half). You may need to increase the amount of thickening at the end.
Looking for a dairy free option? Try a bit of coconut cream (the thick part at the top of the can) instead of the heavy cream.
Be sure to taste the sauce at the end of cooking and add more salt and pepper, as needed. If the sauce tastes flat or you feel like “it needs something”, it’s almost always salt!
For a special meal or entertaining, allow 2 thighs per person, or go for a bone-in/skin on breast instead. Keep the sauce on the thinner side and spoon in to a shallow bowl, over a bit of lovely al dente pasta. Or thicken the sauce a bit more, plate the chicken, spoon sauce over-top and serve alongside a wild-rice blend. Fresh, French green beans, broccolini, rapini or asparagus would also be pretty on the plate.
What to Serve with Tarragon Chicken Thighs
Serve this over simple steamed white rice or pasta, or even mashed potatoes. Add a green vegetable (broccoli or green beans are always a good choice).
Get the Recipe: Creamy Mushroom Tarragon Chicken
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6-8 pieces skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, *or see Notes below for other options
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 8 oz whole button or cremini mushrooms, sliced or halved, or left whole if very small
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, 35% b.f.
- 2 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grainy mustard, or regular Dijon, using a touch less
- 2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped, (or 1 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon leaves)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed
To thicken (if necessary):
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 375 F. (regular bake setting/not fan assisted) and have a baking sheet ready.
- In a non-stick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Seasons and chicken and add to the skillet, skin side down and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side 2-3 minutes. Remove to baking sheet. Place in preheated oven to cook further while you make the sauce.
- Remove all but 1 Tbsp of fat from the skillet. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until golden, stirring often. Add onion and cook a minute or so more, or until the onion has softened . Add wine and cook over medium-high heat until only a few tablespoons remain. Add the chicken stock, cream, mustard and tarragon. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and allow to cook until the sauce is reduced by half, stirring occasionally (this may take 10 minutes or so). Taste sauce and add salt and pepper, as needed. *If it tastes like it "needs something", it's almost always salt, so add a bit more :)
- Note: If sauce is not thick enough, combine 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 1 Tbsp of cold water and add to the sauce, stirring until sauce thickens. Repeat as needed. (If serving over pasta or rice, don't make the sauce too thick, so that when spooned over, it seeps to coat the rice or pasta.)
- Test chicken for done-ness. It should register 160F internal temperature. (Bone-in chicken breasts will take longer than thighs). Remove chicken from oven and place on a serving platter or dish. Pour sauce over-top. Garnish with additional tarragon. Serve over buttered noodles, pasta,, rice or mashed potatoes.
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!