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Chicken thighs with tarragon creme fraiche sauce

Ed Smith

Roast chicken with a fragrant herb cream sauce

Recipe Meta


10 mins


40 mins






  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 3 garlic cloves, skin on but flattened with a heavy knife
  • 6 small shallots, peeled and halved
  • 12-14 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 200ml creme fraiche
  • Juice from ¼ lemon


Preheat the oven to 180C. Place a thick-bottomed frying pan on a high heat, add a tablespoon of sunflower oil, and when that’s hot, salt the chicken thighs then place them skin side down in the pan. Cook for 5-7 mins until the skin is golden and crisping, adding the garlic and shallots for the last minute or so.

Transfer the chicken, garlic and shallots to an ovenproof dish. Ensure the chicken is skin side up and put the 5 woodiest tarragon sprigs (still with leaves) underneath. Bend and snap the herbs to help release their oils. Try to fit everything in snuggly so the chicken is spread across one layer only.

Deglaze the frying pan by pouring the wine in and allowing that to boil and reduce for 30 seconds. Pour this into the oven dish without getting the tops of the chicken wet. Place this in the oven and cook for 25 mins.

Strip the leaves from the remaining tarragon stems and chop roughly.

Then, just before serving, remove the dish from the oven and pour the wine and juices into a gravy pan or small saucepan, leaving the chicken in the warm dish. Bring the saucepan to the boil for 5 mins until reduced by a half. Add the creme fraiche, stir to homogenise. Turn the heat off and throw in the tarragon leaves. Allow the tarragon to infuse for 3 mins. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper and more herbs if you think it needs it. Then pour over the chicken.

Serve directly from the cooking dish, with peas, green or runner beans, rice or mashed potato on the side.

Image: Ed Smith

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