Poached chicken with lemon & tarragon sauce

Poached chicken with lemon & tarragon sauce

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(9 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Ready in 1¾ hrs, including poaching and resting


Serves 4
Poached chicken with lemon in a deliciously creamy tarragon sauce - serve simply with rice or potatoes

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal689
  • fat42g
  • saturates19g
  • carbs3g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre0g
  • protein62g
  • salt1.35g
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  • 300ml dry white wine
  • 1 small fennel, sliced or 2 sticks celery, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut in sticks



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 sprigs each thyme, rosemary and tarragon


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 2 large bay leaves
  • about 100g/4oz smoked bacon pieces or rinds
  • ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp bouillon powder or 2 stock cubes
  • 1 whole chicken, about 2kg/4lb 8 oz



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 1 onion, quartered



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

For the sauce

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 142ml pot double cream
  • handful fresh tarragon, chopped



    A popular and versatile herb, tarragon has an intense flavour that's a unique mix of sweet…

  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • juice of 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…


  1. Put the wine, vegetables, herb sprigs, bay leaves, bacon, peppercorns and stock powder or cubes in a large pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins.

  2. Remove any excess fat from the chicken and push it into the liquor.

  3. Return the liquor to the boil, then turn heat down. Cover and cook for 11⁄4 hrs until chicken legs feel tender when pierced. Remove from heat, stand for 15 mins, then lift onto a plate. Strain the liquor into a bowl and pour 500ml into a pan. Boil to reduce by half.

  4. Pull and cut the bird into neat portions, discarding skin, wing tips and backbone. Put on a plate and cover.

  5. Beat together the yolks, cream and tarragon in a jug. Ladle in a quarter of the liquor, mix, then pour back into the stock and turn the heat down. Mix the cornflour with a little water and add. With a wooden spoon, stir for 3-5 mins until it begins to thicken.6 Remove from the heat, then stir in lemon juice to taste. Pour some sauce over the chicken and put the rest in a jug. Serve with boiled long grain rice.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Nikki Allingham's picture
Nikki Allingham
3rd Feb, 2019
This tasted divine! I wish I'd comments to dave confusion on liquid measures but no biggie. I also used creme fraiche instead of double cream due to guest intolerance -woked just as well - Otherwise very easy recipe. I used chicken breasts instead of whole chicken because that's what I had in the fridge, I reduced the liquid to cater for this. A sprinkling of ground peppercorn to finish and served with roast potato and seasonal veg. Will make again and again.
8th Apr, 2016
Did anyone use chicken broth instead of bouillon cubes and if so how much broth did you use?
22nd Aug, 2015
Just trying this recipe and having the same confusion about liquids however I added enough water to mix with the bouillon powder and it has poached well. I am now trying to understand the amount of liquid needed for the sauce. Is it the 500ml that is taken out and reduced by half that is then used for the sauce - discarding the rest? Does anyone have any advice? thank you
16th Jul, 2015
A delicious recipe. I used chicken breasts which were very moist when eaten as I poached them above the liquid. The poaching liquid has intense flavour with a hint of tarragon.
27th Mar, 2013
Wish I had read the comments first! I also got confused by the amount of liquid as the recipe clearly states put powder or cubes (not dissolved stock). Perhaps the website editor can fix this? Either way made it with the amount of liquid specified - on the bright side could miss out the reducing step at the end. Really delicious flavour though and would try this again with the proper amount of liquid. Do most people just throw out the left over veges from the liquor? They are quite nice anyway.
22nd Feb, 2013
Excellent! I've been looking for a slightly thicker version of a lemon & green peppercorn sauce that my mum sometimes makes for chicken that uses cream and cornflower rather than eggs and butter. This looks perfect. I'm going to add a dash of Dijon mustard and use it to dress up the mustard-stuffed chicken recipe from this site.
1st May, 2011
This dish was very tasty but I'm not sure EASY is the right category. It took a long time and alot of ingredients. I would class as MODERATELY EASY in terms of culinery skills. I'm not sure I would make again unless for a special occasion. Thanks for the previous comments about stock fluid!
8th Dec, 2010
this recipe is delicious, i used an extra 600ml of water to dissolve chicken stock/cubes and added to the liquor, gorgeous and really simple!
24th Aug, 2009
One of my favourite chicken recipes and easier to do than anticipated. The flavours are great and the sauce really creamy. I've made this several times now and it's always been a success.
29th Dec, 2008
Really easy and with extra black pepper it is delicious


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