Sarah-Jane's favourite chicken in calvados, cream and tarragon sauce

Sarah-Jane's favourite chicken in calvados, cream and tarragon sauce


1 person made this

About this recipe: This is my take on a French classic and is my wife's favourite request. It's not for the faint-hearted and should most certainly not be eaten if you haven't had your gallstones out yet. Or if you have no simvastatin handy. It is extremely rich, but extremely delicious and one for when you're not on a slimming diet. Very simple and quick to make.

davidjoseph Anglesey, Wales, UK

Serves: 2 

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 chicken breast fillets, cut into strips
  • coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion or several shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 glass calvados
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 good handful French tarragon, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste

Prep:20min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:50min 

  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a hot cast-iron casserole pot but don't let the butter burn. Season the chicken with fairly coarsely ground black pepper and add to the pan. Don't stir or mess with it, but turn the heat down if the pan's too hot. Once you have that lovely flavourful golden brown colour on the bottom of the chicken, then turn it over until cooked and no longer pink in the centre.
  2. Turn the heat down a bit and add the garlic and onion and stir. It'll only need a minute, then add the calvados and flambe the pan.
  3. Add the cream and let it simmer away until reduced to a nice sauce. I don't know what the fuss is about letting cream bubble away while it reduces - I've never seen it curdle.
  4. Add the tarragon and turn off the heat. The cast-iron pot is hot enough already to finish it off. Taste and add salt if you like, then serve piping hot.


This dish serves well with cheesy potato dauphinoise if you really want to be reckless; otherwise a nice tagliatelle and some steamed, slightly crunchy French green beans works very well. A decent Sancerre and Josh Groban in the background will finish the job. Apologies for the lack of photo until I make it next. I guess you could try all the usual creme-fraiche related tricks to reduce calories but I wouldn't bother, just have it once or twice a year and forget about the diet for an evening.

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