Tarragon and Crème Fraîche Chicken


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

This is a fairly fancy dish that would be wonderful for a Friday-night dinner party. Just a touch of tangy, thick cream, stirred in at the end, gives the flavorful sauce a rich, velvety consistency (a hit with the immersion blender is essential here to smooth out and emulsify the sauce, which will have separated during the day). Spoon it over a mixture of wild rice and brown rice scented with orange and cranberries, and perhaps toss a few cold-weather lettuces in lemon juice and olive oil to serve alongside.


  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds (910 g) well-trimmed boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 heaping teaspoons dried tarragon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche



In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with 1 heaping teaspoon of the tarragon, several pinches of salt, and several grindings of pepper, then add to the pan, folded into little bundles with the smooth side out (the way they’re often packaged in the store) so they fit in the pan. Cook until nicely browned on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes, then use tongs to turn them over and brown the opposite side. Transfer them to the slow cooker, still shaped into their compact bundles.

Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 3 minutes, then add the brandy (if using) and 1 cup (240 ml) water and stir up any browned bits from the pan. Scrape into the cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.


Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the chicken to a bowl (along with some of the shallots). Stir the crème fraîche and remaining 1 heaping teaspoon tarragon into the sauce in the cooker and season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken to the sauce and serve.