Slow-Roasted Chicken with Tarragon and Peas

Slow-Roasted Chicken with Tarragon and Peas
Staff Writer
Chicken Tarragon

Anne-Li Engstrom

Chicken Tarragon

Tarragon has a very special affinity with chicken. This spring/summer recipe is a new take on an old theme and is well loved by all. New potatoes are the only side needed.


  • 1 lemon
  • 1 chicken, weighing at least 3 pounds, 5 ounces
  • 1 large bunch of French tarragon, leaves separated from stalks
  • Salt and pepper
  • Piece of butter
  • Generous ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Generous ¾ cup water for the peas
  • ¾ cup bacon, diced
  • 5 ½ ounces shallots, peeled but left whole
  • 1 ¼ cups hard cider
  • 2 ¾ cups fresh shelled peas (frozen if necessary)
  • 4 Little Gem or Romaine lettuce, quartered
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cut the lemon in half. Pare the zest and extract the juice from one half (reserving both the zest and the juice), and put the other half in the cavity of the chicken. Put the tarragon stalks inside the chicken with the lemon and salt and pepper.

Rub the surface of the chicken with the butter, salt, and pepper. Put it in a tight-fitting ovenproof pot, preferably clay, and scatter over the tarragon leaves and lemon zest. Pour on the cream and water, and put the lid on.

Put the chicken in the oven and let roast for 1 ¼ hours. The cooking time can vary, so keep an eye on it: when a thigh is easily pulled off, it is done.The sauce should be reduced to a thick glaze in the pot; if it has separated, take out the chicken and add a little cold water. Season with the reserved lemon juice and more salt and pepper.

While the chicken roasts, prepare the peas. Fry the bacon in a heavy-based skillet at a low heat so the fat runs off. Add the shallots and let fry slowly until soft and lightly golden. Pour in the cider and let reduce by half.

When the chicken is done, and while you are making the sauce, add the peas and lettuces to the bacon and shallots, put a lid on and leave the vegetables to heat through until the lettuces have wilted—this should take about ten minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the vegetables in the pan with the chicken, nicely carved, on top. The sauce should be served separately.

Roasted Chicken Shopping Tip

Buy whole chickens and ask the butcher to quarter them for you. You will save an average of $5 per pound, or more.

Roasted Chicken Cooking Tip

Legs take longer than breasts to cook. For more consistent results, mark the chicken on the grill and then finish cooking them in an oven.

Roasted Chicken Wine Pairing

Pinot noir, gamay, merlot, zinfandel, carménère, pinotage, or grenache with grilled, roasted, or other simply cooked chicken; chardonnay, pinot gris/grigio, pinot blanc, or chenin blanc with chicken in cream or light tomato sauce or with chicken crêpes or croquettes; sauvignon blanc or sémillon with fried chicken; viognier with spiced chicken dishes.