Chicken fricassee with tarragon is a French country comfort food that your family will love for dinner tonight!  This low carb main course recipe shows you how to cook perfectly juicy bone in chicken thighs and drumsticks and make a yummy lemon and tarragon gravy.

Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
cast iron skillet of chicken fricassee
Chicken, Main Course

Chicken Fricassee Recipe with Tarragon

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This post was originally published on January 26, 2018.

Are you craving chicken tonight?  Why not try our chicken fricassee with tarragon.  It is French comfort food that is welcome any time of the year.  Our version creates a velvety white sauce that is seasoned with lemon juice and fresh tarragon.  There are many variations to this dish, so feel free to add your own twist.

plate of chicken fricassee with two forks

What is chicken fricassee?

Chicken fricassee with tarragon is a French stew with a white sauce.  In the modern version of chicken fricassee, the meat is browned first before braising in a liquid.  There are many variations of fricassee using different kinds of meat.  Chicken and veal are the most common, but lamb, rabbit, and shellfish are also used.  A vegetarian fricassee uses mushrooms in place of the meat along with other vegetables.  Abraham Lincoln considered chicken fricassee as one of his favorite dishes.

What does fricassee mean in cooking?

Fricassee is a method of cooking that uses both dry and wet heat.  The dry heat happens when the vegetables are sauteed.  The wet heat happens when the meat and vegetables are braised in a liquid, usually a stock.  To paraphrase Julia Child, a fricassee is half way between a saute and a stew.

pouring gravy on chicken fricassee

How do you pronounce fricassee?

Fricassee is a french word that is pronounced fri-kuh-SEE, with the accent on the last syllable.

What do you eat with chicken fricassee?

Chicken fricassee is most commonly served over rice, mashed potatoes, polenta, or buttered noddles.

person holding a forkful of chicken fricassee

What sides go well with chicken fricassee?

  • Salad: green, leafy, and fresh
  • Bread: crusty rustic bread with a soft center, like our cob loaf
  • Vegetables: peas, asparagus, and pearl onions
  • Fruit: figs, apples

closeup of chicken fricassee

What are the nutrition facts for chicken fricassee?

One serving size of one piece of chicken and 1/3 cup of sauce will have 10.1g carbs, and 11% DV vitamin A, C, and iron.  It will also have 485 calories.  For more nutritional information, scroll down to the bottom of the recipe card.

Can you make chicken fricassee with leftover chicken or turkey?

Yes, you most certainly can.  Of course, it would be a modern twist, but it would still taste wonderful.  Instead of browning chicken pieces, use leftover chicken that was roasted or poached.  Shred or cut up the cooked chicken and add it in near the end of the recipe.

pouring gravy on chicken fricassee

Can you freeze chicken fricassee?

Yes and no; it depends on if you put cream in your sauce.  If you know you want to freeze half of the recipe, remove half of the sauce before adding the cream or the liaison.  You can freeze the chicken pieces and the sauce, without cream, separately in airtight containers for up to one month.  Thaw overnight in the fridge.

When ready to serve, reheat the sauce in a skillet over medium low heat.  Add a thickening agent (a liaison of tempered egg yolks and cream), fresh lemon juice, and fresh tarragon.  To finish, add the thawed chicken pieces and heat through until warm over medium low heat.

person holding a plate of chicken fricassee

How to Make Chicken Fricassee with Tarragon

Gather all the ingredients.  Chop the onion, then dice the celery and carrots.  Squeeze the lemon juice, and separate the eggs.  Set aside the whites for another use.

ingredients for chicken fricassee

Rinse and pat dry the chicken.

patting dry raw chicken with paper towel

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and black pepper.

raw chicken sprinkled with salt and pepper

Heat the butter and oil in two large skillets, then place the chicken pieces skin side down.

browning chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet

Sear for 5 minutes each side turning once.

browning chicken drumsticks in a skillet

When chicken is done place on a clean plate, and drain the fat from both skillets.

two plates of browned chicken thighs and drumsticks

Place one tablespoon of reserved fat in each skillet and turn the heat to medium.  Sauté half of the onion, carrot, and celery in each skillet until softened.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook the flour until it smells nutty, roughly 2 minutes.

stirring flour into cooked vegetables

Deglaze the two skillets by pouring white wine over the vegetables and scraping the bits off the bottom with a wooden turner.  Let the wine boil and thicken.

stirring white wine into flour and veggie mixture

Slowly pour in the chicken stock.

pouring chicken stock into vegetable mixture

Make two bouquet garnis by gathering up fresh thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf and tying the bundle with some kitchen twine.  Return the browned chicken to the skillets, then add a bouquet garni to each pan.

person adding a bouquet garni to chicken fricassee

Partially cover the skillet with a lid or some foil.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes.  Check the temperature of the chicken; it should be 165 F in the thickest part.  Once it is cooked, remove it from the skillet and place it on a clean plate.

putting cooked chicken thighs into a dish

To let the sauce thicken, let it simmer for 5 minutes uncovered over medium low heat.

Meanwhile, make the liaison by constantly whisking the cream into the room temperature egg yolks.  Temper the liaison by adding 1/2 cup of the simmering sauce, one tablespoon at a time, to the egg cream mixture.  Make sure to whisk constantly.

adding a tablespoon of sauce to whisked egg mixture

Slowly add the tempered liaison to the simmering sauce, whisking constantly.

whisking the egg and cream mixture into the gravy

Whisk in two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice into each skillet, and then a generous sprinkle of fresh tarragon.

adding lemon juice to the gravy

Add the chicken pieces back to the two skillets and heat through over medium low heat.

putting the chicken into the gravy

Serve the warm chicken on a platter and pour the gravy in a gravy boat.

cast iron skillet filled with chicken fricassee

Once you get started in the kitchen, the time will fly by, and before you know it, you’ll be cheerfully saying to your family, “Bon Appétit!”

Pro Tips for Making Chicken Fricassee with Tarragon

  • Want to use a whole chicken?  Go for it!  Just put aside the wing tips for another dish.
  • Want crispy chicken skin?  Pat the chicken dry, then only flip it once while searing.
  • Need a vegetarian version?  Use morel or button mushrooms instead of the meat.
  • Need a gluten free sauce?  Use rice flour, potato starch, or tapioca.
  • Don’t want to use dairy cream?  Use coconut cream.
  • Don’t want to use white wine?  Use vermouth.
  • Want brightly colored vegetables?  Blanch them.  Do leeks for 3 minutes, carrots for 1 minute, and peas for 1 min.
  • Want more ways to finish the sauce?  Use lemon zest, freshly chopped herbs, a splash of vinegar, or a dollop of crème fraîche.
  • Leftover gravy?  Store covered in the fridge and use on mashed potatoes, rice, or toast.
  • Want a thicker sauce?  Add an additional tablespoon of flour when making the roux and simmer the sauce longer uncovered.
  • Serving this to children?  Cut the meat off the bone and pour the sauce on top before serving.

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Chicken Fricassee

Love chicken?  Check out our other chicken skillet recipes.

smothered chicken in a cast iron skillet holding a plate of creamy lemon chicken holding a forkful of Asian chicken thighs

The pleasure of a 5-star review for this chicken fricassee recipe would be greatly appreciated.

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cast iron skillet of chicken fricassee

Chicken Fricassee Recipe with Tarragon


  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 11 servings 1x

Description

Chicken fricassee with tarragon is a French country comfort food that your family will love for dinner tonight!  This low carb main course recipe shows you how to cook perfectly juicy bone in chicken thighs and drumsticks and make a yummy lemon and tarragon gravy.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 5 chicken thighs
  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped (173g)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, finely diced (210g)
  • 3/4 cup celery, finely diced (100g)
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup white wine
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Prep the chicken. Rinse and pat dry the chicken, then place it on two plates and generously sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper.
  2. Sear the chicken.  Divide the butter between two heavy-bottomed, high sided skillets.  Melt the butter over medium-high heat until it’s frothy, then add the oil.  Place the drumsticks skin side down in one skillet and the thighs in the other without overcrowding.  Fry the chicken on one side until it’s golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Turn down the heat to medium low once the butter starts to brown.  Flip the chicken once to brown the other side for 5 minutes, then place the chicken pieces on a clean plate.  Pour out most the fat from both skillets into a small bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon in each skillet.
  3. Saute the mirepoix. Divide the onion, carrot, and celery between the two skillets and turn the heat to medium.  Scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden turner.  Stir the mirepoix occasionally until the onions turn golden brown, about 8 minutes.
  4. Make the roux.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the veggies in each skillet and stir until the flour is absorbed.  Keep stirring until the flour smells nutty, roughly two minutes.
  5. Deglaze the pan.  Pour the white wine into each skillet over the mirepoix.  Let it boil and thicken for about a minute.  Scrape up any remaining brown bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden turner.  Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, dividing it between the two skillets.
  6. Make the bouquet garni.  Gather up some fresh thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf.  Arrange into a small bouquet and tie with kitchen string.  Make another bouquet for the second skillet.
  7. Braise the chicken.  Return the drumsticks and thighs to each skillet, along with the juices from the plate.  Add the bouquet garni.  Don’t submerge the seared chicken in the stock; 1 to 1 1/2 inches of liquid is all you need.   Partially cover each skillet with a lid askew or with foil.  Bring the skillets to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 35 minutes.  The chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 F in the thickest part.  Remove the cooked chicken and place on a large plate; also, remove the two bouquet garnis.
  8. Reduce the liquid by simmering it uncovered for 5 minutes over medium low heat.  You should end up with about 3 1/3 cups (788 ml) of liquid.
  9. Make and temper the liaison.  While the sauce simmers, make the liaison, which will help thicken the sauce.  Whisk the cream into the room temperature egg yolks.  Add 1/2 cup of the hot cooking liquid, one tablespoon at a time, to the liaison.  Make sure to whisk constantly during this tempering process.  Slowly add the liaison to the sauce, whisking constantly.  Make sure the sauce is simmering and not boiling, or the egg yolks will scramble and ruin the sauce.
  10. Finish the sauce.  As a finishing touch, add two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to each skillet and whisk it in, then sprinkle on the fresh tarragon.  Return the chicken pieces to each skillet and let it heat through for a few minutes over low heat.
  11. Serve.  Place the chicken on a platter and pour the sauce into a gravy boat.  Serve the chicken and gravy warm with mashed potatoes, rice, buttered noodles, or polenta.

Notes

  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this chicken fricassee recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: with cream, French, easy

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4 thoughts on “Chicken Fricassee Recipe with Tarragon

  1. Love this recipe! It’s now a permanent addition to my binder. This was the first time making a liaison which was surprisingly easy. To make sure my yolks were room temp I put the eggs (before cracking & separating) in a bowl of warm water for 10 min. I opted to use skinless chicken thighs/legs in this recipe. From what I can tell it didn’t pose any issues. I used a muscadet wine which was perfect. Served over creamy mashed cauliflower mock potatoes with a small side salad and asparagus. There were no leftovers. Thank you for such a great dinner!

    1. That’s awesome, Ashley! We’re thrilled to hear that the chicken fricassee was such a success, and that you learned something new with the liaison. You’re a real French chef now! 😍

  2. I love the gravy, and it even tastes good on potatoes 🥔. The chicken 🍗 is tender, and the gravy adds the finishing touch. 🐔🥕😍❤️🐥🥘🐣

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