Pairings

Chicken Tarragon cooked in Riesling w/ a glass of Pinot Noir

You’ve heard of drunken duck…well this must be ‘drunken’ chicken; cooked in wine and then paired with wine. It’s one thing to pair wine with food, but cooking with wine adds a whole new flavour dimension that your palate will thank you for. I once had a savoury coq au vin cooked with Chablis while staying in France years ago. After the experience, I longed to create my own version of this delicious dish and I think this recipe does the trick. I’ve made it before using bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (thighs, legs etc…); however, my kids don’t like the ‘squishy bits’ and to be honest, using skinless chicken breasts created a happier experience for everyone!

Begin by setting the oven to 200°C, as you’re going to eventually bake the chicken breasts.

I always try and prepare my fresh vegetables before handling meat. I think this helps prevent any cross-contamination. So, before getting the chicken ready, let’s slice and dice some veggies!!

Once you’ve prepared the shallots, garlic, mushrooms and tarragon leaves, place them in separate dishes and set aside. Now, you’re ready to focus on the chicken! Pat the chicken breasts dry with a towel, place on a plate and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Pour the cup of flour onto a dry plate, dredge the chicken breasts, and set them aside on a dry plate.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter (you may need to use more if you cook more batches) in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once fully melted, add the dredged chicken breasts and brown for 2 minutes on both sides. Try not to move the chicken around, as the browning occurs when the chicken remains in place. Also, if you’re cooking in batches, remove any ‘bits’ from the Dutch oven to a separate plate between batches. These will burn and then you can reincorporate them later.

Once browned on both sides, remove the chicken breasts from the Dutch oven and arrange in a baking dish.

Now, you’re ready to begin creating the creamy Riesling and tarragon sauce. Melt two tablespoons of butter in the Dutch oven and sauté the shallots, bacon lardons and pressed garlic for about two minutes over medium-high heat. Add the sliced chestnut mushrooms and cook for another minute.

Next pour the Riesling into the mix and watch it bubble away for about 30 seconds. I chose to use an off-dry Riesling over a dry Chablis for two reasons; it’s a bit cheaper, adds a bit of sweetness to the mix and also has a higher acidity level which cuts through any greasiness within the dish. Your goal is to create a cream sauce that complements, not overpowers, the amazing, earthy flavours.

Then add the chicken stock, Dijon mustard and single cream, stir together and bring to a slow, gentle simmer. You don’t want the cream to separate, and this happens when sauces are heated too quickly. At this point, ad the bay leaves and tarragon leaves, stir and simmer for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. This will enable the sauce to reduce and thicken.

Once the sauce has thickened, season with salt & pepper and pour over the chicken breasts. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

When the chicken is done cooking, remove from the oven and check that the chicken is cooked through. It should be juicy and tender but not pink!

Plate your chicken and serve with a side of scalloped potatoes and green beans. Keeping the side dishes simple, enables the chicken to be in the spotlight. Serve with a glass of your favourite Pinot Noir.


If you haven’t heard of Oregon’s Beaux Frères Pinot Noir, then you must have been hiding somewhere under a barrel for quite some time! Beaux Frères is located in Oregon’s famous Ribbon Ridge AVA, which is located just north of the Dundee hills. Founded in 1986 by brother-in-laws ‘beaux frères’ Michael Etzel and Robert Parker, a renowned wine critic, they have established their wines as the benchmark for top quality in Oregon. While rummaging through my cellar, I came across this Beaux Frères 2016 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The grapes sourced for this bottle came from a variety of vineyards around the Willamette Valley, including 4% from Beaux Frères. As this is a pricer Pinot Noir ($60 retail), you could choose something a bit less pricey and achieve a similar outcome; however, I’m always blown away with complexity of aromas, flavours and memorable finish that a Beaux Frères wine offers, and this one is no exception. Filled with aromas of red cherries and raspberries, accompanied by flavours of strawberry and baking space with subtle tannins and a lengthy, rounded finish. You’ll want to buy another bottle!


Chicken Tarragon cooked in Riesling

An indulgent chicken dish filled with savoury, earthy flavours! A faster, easier alternative to coq au vin, as this dish uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Pair with your favourite Pinot Noir.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chicken tarragon, Pinot noir, Riesling
Servings: 6 people

Equipment

  • Dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter (divide in half)
  • 200 grams smoked bacon lardons
  • 8 shallots peeled and thinly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves pressed
  • 250 grams chestnut mushrooms
  • 400 ml Riesling (dry to off-dry)
  • 400 ml chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 300 ml single cream
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh tarragon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Begin by setting the oven to 200°C

Preparing the Vegetables

  • Slice the mushrooms; peel and dice the shallots & garlic; set aside.
  • Roughly chop the tarragon leaves, excluding the stems and set aside.

Preparing the Chicken Breasts

  • Pat the chicken breasts dry with a towel, place on a plate and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Pour the cup of flour onto a dry plate, dredge the chicken breasts, and set them aside on a dry plate.

Browning the chicken

  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter (you may need to use more if you cook in batches) in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once fully melted, add the dredged chicken breasts and brown for 2 minutes on both sides. Try not to move the chicken around, as the browning occurs when the chicken remains in place.
  • Once browned on both sides, remove from the Dutch oven and arrange in a baking dish.

Riesling & Tarragon Cream Sauce

  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the Dutch oven and sauté the shallots, bacon lardons and pressed garlic for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sliced chestnut mushrooms and cook for another minute.
  • Add the Riesling, allowing it to bubble for 30 seconds before adding the chicken stock, Dijon mustard and single cream. Stir together and bring to a slow, gentle boil.
  • Add the Bay leaves and tarragon leaves to the mixture.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  • Once thickened, season with salt and pepper and pour the sauce over the chicken breasts. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • When the chicken is done cooking, remove from the oven and serve with a side of potatoes and green beans.

Wine pairing

  • Serve with a glass of Pinot Noir.