Tarragon world tour | Kitchen to Kitchen

Sidonie Maroon
Posted 7/14/23

I harvested a gigantic bouquet of French tarragon from the garden. It sits in a vase on my kitchen island while I figure out what to do with it all.

My first inclination is to make herb vinegar …

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Tarragon world tour | Kitchen to Kitchen

Fork, meet creamy chicken tarragon salad and let the love story begin.
Fork, meet creamy chicken tarragon salad and let the love story begin.
Photo courtesy of Sidonie Maroon

I harvested a gigantic bouquet of French tarragon from the garden. It sits in a vase on my kitchen island while I figure out what to do with it all.

My first inclination is to make herb vinegar and a creamy tarragon chicken dish. But, with an armful of tarragon on my hands, I’m going to have to get curious. 

A quick fact finding mission: French Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus var. Sativa is indigenous to Siberia, South Russia, and Western Asia. French tarragon shows up as an ingredient in Italian and French cooking in the late medieval era, and remains a popular herb in cuisines around the world. 

Around the World with French Tarragon 

Tarragon in cuisines other than French? Yes! Tarragon is beloved worldwide. I’ve included recipes for each of the following on the Food Co-op’s blog “The Beet.” 

French - Béarnaise sauce: A classic sauce made with tarragon, shallots, white wine vinegar, and egg yolks. 

Italian - Risotto al dragoncello: A creamy risotto dish flavored with tarragon, white wine, and Parmesan cheese. 

Russian - Tarkhun: A refreshing tarragon-flavored soft drink made with tarragon syrup, water, and lemon juice. 

Georgian - Chakapuli: A traditional Georgian stew made with lamb, tarragon, green plums, and white wine. 

Persian - Sabzi Khordan: A fresh herb platter that includes tarragon, mint, basil, and other herbs served with feta cheese and flatbread. 

Armenian - Tarragon-stuffed fish: Whole fish stuffed with a mixture of tarragon, parsley, cilantro, and green onions, then baked. 

Greek - Tarragon lemon chicken: Chicken marinated in a tarragon, lemon juice, and olive oil mixture before being grilled or roasted. 

Spanish - Tarragon aioli: A variation of the classic aioli sauce made with garlic, olive oil, egg yolks, and fresh tarragon. 

German - Tarragon mustard: A creamy mustard sauce made with Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and fresh tarragon. 

Hungarian - Tarragon chicken soup: A comforting chicken soup flavored with tarragon, paprika, and sour cream.

Tarragon Lemon Balm and Rose Vinegar 

I made some tarragon vinegar, and was inspired to add lemon balm and rose petals. If you haven’t made homemade herbal vinegars, it’s a fun and easy project. I added a cup each of tarragon, lemon balm and rose petals, all from my garden, to a quart mason jar. 

BTW: Using some stems is OK. 

Then, I poured three cups of raw apple cider vinegar over them and sealed the jar with a non-corrosive lid. It’ll sit on a dark shelf in my pantry for a month before straining and using it for many culinary delights. 

Playing with food

Here’s what I found out in a week’s worth of tarragon experiments: The leaves numb the tongue temporarily after the initial anise flavor. Its light anise flavor doesn’t hold up to cooking, so use it fresh. 

I’d partner it with similar herbs and spices that support it, like fennel or anise. A touch of heat and bitter serves, so chives, chive blossoms, and celery seed are good companions. It likes acids like lemon, or a white wine vinegar. Zests from lemons and oranges marry well. 

Other herbs to consider combining with tarragon are lemon balm, lemon thyme, anise hyssop and rose. It’s a delicate flavor and loses its oomph rapidly, so anything creamy which lingers on the tongue helps. 

Creamy Chicken Tarragon Salad

Serves 4-6

Try this as a hot ragu for pasta, or serve at room temperature as a summer salad. 


For the sauté

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 red sweet pepper, diced

2 cups white wine

8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the cream sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoon potato starch

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To finish

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup chopped tarragon

2 teaspoons zest of lemon


Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a large casserole dish.

Using a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, sauté the onions in olive oil for 10 minutes. Add successively the carrots, celery, and red pepper and continue to sauté until they are soft, another five to seven minutes in total.

Add the sauté to a large food processor and pulse 5 to 7 times or until the ingredients are a fine dice.

Add the vegetables and chicken to the casserole. Pour in the wine and add salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, whole milk, potato starch, sea salt, and black pepper to make a slurry. After 30 minutes, remove the casserole from the oven and stir in the slurry.

Return it to the oven and continue to bake for another 20 minutes. Take out and taste. Stir in the mustard, lemon juice, tarragon, salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve warm or at room temperature with a side green salad, chopped cucumbers, and tomatoes.

(More recipes are available at foodcoop.coop/recipes. Sidonie Maroon is culinary educator at The Food Co-op; abluedotkitchen.com. Follow Sidonie on The Food Co-op’s Facebook group, Cooking with the Co-op.)