We have been growing some herbs in pots outside on our patio. These included tarragon. We also had two chicken thighs in the freezer so I was interested in making Chicken Tarragon. Turns out you can make crème fraîche by combining heavy cream and buttermilk, which seems eminently practical to me as I would never go out and buy crème fraîche but I often have heavy cream and buttermilk in the fridge. I found a recipe on the internet and adjusted it to accommodate just two chicken thighs; one per person is plenty because the sauce is rich. We served it with green beans and leftover mashed potatoes. Will definitely make this again. If you were serving this to company, you might consider placing the thighs, skin-side up, under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown up the skin. This will not change the flavor, but will increase the eye-appeal. I might try doing this next time.
2 large chicken thighs bone-in skin-on
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon, plus whole leaves for garnish
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup crème fraîche (or heavy cream combined with buttermilk)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
If using heavy cream and buttermilk combine 2 parts cream to 1 part buttermilk and set aside.
1. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature.
2. Heat the oven to 400°F. Put an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter and shallots and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chopped tarragon and cook for 1 minute (be careful not to let the garlic brown). Arrange the chicken thighs in the pot in one layer, add the broth and wine, and bring to a simmer.
3. Put the lid on and place the pot on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350°F and continue baking for 45 minutes, or until the thighs are tender. Put the thighs on a platter, cover loosely, and keep warm. (If you want browner skin place thighs skin-side up under the broiler for a few minutes.)
4. Strain the pan juices through a fine sieve into a saucepan and spoon off any rising fat. Place the pan over medium-high heat, add the crème fraîche and lemon zest, and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
5. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, garnish with tarragon leaves, and serve.