Grilled Chicken in Creamy Tarragon Sauce

Grilled Chicken in Creamy Tarragon Sauce
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About This Recipe

There's nothing like a summer in Napa Valley. It paints a vibrant picture, much like an artist's palette. The sprawling vineyards, the intoxicating aroma of maturing grapes, and nature's gentle hum all converge into a sensory masterpiece. Amidst this backdrop, I was inspired to craft a dish that symbolizes the heart of wine country: the Grilled Chicken in Creamy Tarragon Sauce. Every bite encapsulates the Napa essence, making it one of the must-try creamy chicken recipes.

From the Farmer's Market to the Plate

Venturing through local farmers' markets, my fingers brushed against the delicate, aromatic tarragon leaves. This herb, often intertwined with French cuisine and reminiscent of Bordeaux's romantic vineyards, whispered tales of old-world charm. Marrying the French finesse of tarragon with Napa's hearty soul seemed a delightful challenge.

But what truly makes this tarragon chicken stand out is the sauce. The creamy tarragon sauce is not just a mere accompaniment; it's the soul of the dish. Diving deeper into the wine culture that thrives in Napa, I realized that a Bordeaux Blend, with its subtle notes of black currant, plum, and graphite, would elevate this chicken in white wine sauce. However, if you're more inclined towards white wines, a glass of Chardonnay, with hints of oak and green apple, complements this tarragon cream sauce perfectly. After all, when genuine chef-prepared wine meets authentic recipes, a harmonious dance of flavors ensues.

Beyond the Wine: Napa's Treasures

Wine country is more than its famous wines; it's about the memories woven into its fabric. The vineyards narrate tales of history, passion, and the unwavering quest for perfection. In this context, I can't help but shine a spotlight on Elyse Winery. Hidden from the regular hustle and bustle, this winery is the epitome of authenticity blending seamlessly with modern innovation.

But what about the accompaniments? Visualize a toasty quinoa salad with caramelized veggies or maybe a side of garlic-laden mashed potatoes. As the setting sun paints the valley, conclude your meal with a floral lavender panna cotta, a tribute to Napa's resplendent wildflowers.

Napa Valley is an evergreen muse. Whether it's the venerable oak trees or the quaint eateries like the Oakville Grocery that offer a taste of history, Napa never ceases to inspire. Speaking of Oakville Grocery, it's a time capsule; operating since the 1800s, it showcases Napa's rich heritage.

Crafting gourmet meals, particularly with a backdrop as culturally profound as Napa, is indeed a unique experience. The Grilled Chicken in Creamy Tarragon Sauce isn't just another dish; it embodies the region's essence. So, when pondering over summer dinner recipes, embark on this gastronomic journey that transports you straight to wine country's heart. Here's to countless more culinary tales and the adventures they encapsulate. Cheers!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Tarragon

Tarragon, a perennial herb hailing from the sunflower family, is known for its aromatic leaves which offer a subtle hint of anise. Native to Eurasia, tarragon found its way into various cuisines, especially French, where it became one of the "fines herbes" of the culinary world. Besides its robust flavor profile, tarragon boasts numerous health benefits, including its potential anti-inflammatory properties and its rich content of vital antioxidants. The delicate, slightly sweet nuances of tarragon, combined with its vibrant green color, make it an essential ingredient in many dishes, especially sauces, lending depth and character to the flavors.

How to Perfectly Grill Chicken

Step-by-Step Guide to Juicy Grilled Chicken:

  1. Marinate for Flavor: Even a quick 20-minute marination can make a world of difference. Olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs like tarragon infuse the chicken with incredible flavor.
  2. Uniform Thickness: Ensure that your chicken breasts are of even thickness. You can use a meat mallet or rolling pin to lightly pound the thicker end of the chicken, making it uniform. This ensures even cooking.
  3. Preheat the Grill: Always preheat your grill to medium-high heat. This ensures a nice sear and retains the chicken's juices.
  4. Avoid Overcooking: Grill each side for 6-7 minutes. Chicken breasts are lean, making them prone to drying out if overcooked. It's ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).


  1. Can I use dried tarragon instead of fresh? Yes, if you can't find fresh tarragon, dried will do. Typically, you'll want to use one-third of the amount called for when substituting dried herbs for fresh.
  2. I don't have a grill; can I use a grill pan? Absolutely. A grill pan on the stovetop can mimic the effects of an outdoor grill. Remember to preheat the pan and adjust the cooking time as needed.
  3. Any recommendations for wine if I can't find Napa Valley Chardonnay? While Napa Valley Chardonnay has unique notes, you can substitute it with another dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
  4. How do I store leftovers? Store any leftover grilled chicken and sauce separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently to prevent the sauce from separating.
  5. Is this recipe gluten-free? Yes, this Grilled Chicken in Creamy Tarragon Sauce recipe is gluten-free. However, always check labels to ensure no cross-contamination or additives contain gluten.

Tips for Success

  1. Chicken Prep: Always let your chicken rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes before grilling. This promotes even cooking.
  2. Sauce Consistency: If your tarragon sauce feels too thick, you can thin it out with a splash of chicken broth or more white wine. Conversely, if it's too thin, allow it to simmer a bit longer.
  3. Enhance Flavor with Garnish: Before serving, consider garnishing your dish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped tarragon and a lemon wedge on the side. It'll elevate the dish both visually and flavor-wise.

Recipe Overview

Grilled Chicken in Creamy Tarragon Sauce
Lily Anderson
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (preferably a Napa Valley Chardonnay)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes on each side or until fully cooked and golden. Remove from the grill and set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, sautéing until translucent.
  5. Pour in the white wine, letting it simmer and reduce by half.
  6. Add the heavy cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Allow the sauce to simmer until it thickens slightly.
  7. Stir in the fresh tarragon, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve the grilled chicken hot, generously drizzled with the creamy tarragon sauce.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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