Lemon, Tarragon and Thyme Chicken

You know when you read recipe after recipe after recipe, something just sticks somewhere and when you are cooking you have that brain of your work as a file system.

You start with a specific idea of the dish, then while you are dicing and sautéing you see a half lemon and your brain does a quick search and then tells you, why not add it? You see the fresh herbs in the garden and why not?  You see the wine bottle and you think, perfect.

This recipe started like that.  I knew I wanted to use the chicken thighs that I had defrosted overnight, and I knew I wanted a creamy dish (I was craving a tangy sauce).  So, I started like any dish.  A bit of butter, a bit of oil, a bit of sautéing and before you know it, we are having a delicious chicken dish for lunch.


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs, with skin and bones
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian blend (I use this one)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon, cut into round slices
  • 1 cup hot chicken stock
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½  tablespoon chopped tarragon, plus extra sprigs to garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme, plus extra springs to garnish

Season the dry chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Melt the butter with the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin sides down, and cook for 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn them over and brown the other sides, about 2 minutes more.

Turn the chicken skin sides up, then sprinkle with the Italian blend, cook another 3-4 minutes and then transfer to a plate.  Add the diced onions, garlic to the hot pan and scrape any chicken bits, season the onions with salt and pepper to taste. Add the stock, lemon wedges and wine and bring to a boil. Place the chicken back in the saucepan and reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the chicken to a bowl and tent with aluminum foil, to keep hot. Boil the sauce over high heat until reduced by about half.

Stir in the sour cream and chopped tarragon and thymes and continue boiling until thickened, place the chicken back into the sauce and cook about 1-2 more minutes for the creamy sauce to coat the chicken, garnish with the tarragon and thyme, and serve hot.

I served it with a simple side of white rice, with some almond tossed in it, but I’m thinking at a nice spinach salad would also pair well with it, let your brain file cabinet work for you, I’m sure there are lots of stored ideas in there as well.  The best part of this dish is that you can convert any left over into a creamy pasta sauce. Make some cappellini (Angel hair) pasta and this will make a great fast weeknight dinner.