An easy-to-make skillet chicken dinner that boasts lots of vegetables and a fresh lemon tarragon sauce, served with couscous. A nice weeknight dinner but good enough for guests, too.
Why you’ll love it: This chicken recipe is hearty and easy to make. Everything except the couscous is prepared in one pan.
How long it takes: 1 hour
Equipment you’ll need: sharp knife, cutting board, large skillet, stove
Imagine a plate of tender boneless chicken, surrounded by earthy mushrooms, sweet onions, bright orange carrots, and green peas, in a tarragon and lemon scented sauce. Sounds great, right? Easy-to-make couscous soaks up the sauce, rounding out this easy and nutritious meal.
This skillet meal is one of my go-to dinners. It’s easy to customize; just use the veggies you have in the fridge. The light sauce pulls everything together and it’s so yummy with the distinctive anise flavor of tarragon and bright lemon. It feels a little fancy.
About This Recipe
There are so many ways to describe this recipe. I struggled a bit with what to name it. We always call it “that chicken thing mom loves with mushrooms and couscous”. It’s kind of a stew with gravy and it’s kind of a stir-fry. Most importantly, it’s really good, everyone loves it, and that’s what matters.
All you’ll need is a large skillet, and also a small saucepan for the couscous.
I’ll give you a quick description of how to make this easy skillet dinner, along with a few helpful tips.
Look for the printable recipe card with complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information near the end of this post.
What you need
- Chicken: I like boneless skinless chicken thighs but feel free to substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts if you prefer white meat.
- Carrots, Mushrooms, Onions: This trio of vegetables is nutritious, delicious, and readily available. Substitute or add other veggies if you like.
- Garlic: The recipe calls for 2 cloves of fresh garlic but feel free to add more or less, depending on how much you like garlic. No fresh garlic? Use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder instead.
- Tarragon: If you aren’t familiar with this herb, this is a great opportunity to try it. Tarragon is a perennial woody herb that tastes like anise, or sort of like licorice. If you can’t find fresh, dried tarragon is widely available.
Dried herbs are more potent than fresh so if you’re using dried, use less. We recommend using about 1 teaspoon instead of 2, or about half as much.
- Flour and Chicken Broth: Use these two ingredients to make the “gravy”. It’s basically a lightly thickened sauce.
- Frozen Peas: Stirred in right at the end of the cooking time, frozen peas add a pop of bright green to the recipe.
- A Squeeze of Fresh Lemon: Lemon juice brightens the flavor of this chicken stew.
- Couscous, for serving: Couscous is a very small pasta. You’ll love it because it’s super easy to cook. Use whole wheat couscous if you can find it (try Trader Joe’s). Pictured is pearl couscous (aka Israeli couscous), which is another great option. You could also serve rice or pasta.
How to make This Recipe
Gather together everything you’ll need before you get started. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Prep the mushrooms, carrots, and onions and mince the garlic cloves. Okay, now you’re ready to get cooking!
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and brown it. It doesn’t have to be completely cooked through because it will do some more cooking later. Remove it from the pan to a plate or bowl.
Add a little more oil to the pan, and beginning with the mushrooms, then the carrots and onions, sauté the veggies until they begin to soften.
Throw in the garlic and tarragon for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the flour, still stirring, and cook for one minute. The flour will coat the veggies and the mixture will look a little sticky and weird but don’t worry.
Next, slowly stir in the broth. Now you should start to see a nice sauce start to form as the mixture comes to a simmer.
Add the chicken back to the pan, cover it, and simmer for ten minutes. Uncover the pan, and simmer five more minutes. Just a reminder: Now’s a good time to get the couscous started.
When you’re almost ready to serve this dish, add the peas and a squeeze of lemon juice to the pan. Cook for just a couple more minutes.
Serve the chicken and vegetables with the couscous, garnished with more tarragon, if you like. So good!
Really, any vegetable you choose. Try tarragon with stir fries or roasted vegetables. I love tarragon with fresh peas or asparagus, and a dash of lemon juice. Or beets! Try these beet bruschetta with orange tarragon goat cheese. My homemade Green Goddess dressing blends a mixture of fresh herbs, including tarragon, and is just fantastic on a summer salad.
Tarragon is an herb. There are other herbs that could take the place of tarragon but they won’t taste exactly the same. Purple basil or Thai basil have a somewhat similar licorice flavor. Regular basil, thyme, parsley, or sage are good choices, too.
In this recipe, the chicken is cooked first and removed from the pan so neither the chicken or vegetables get overcooked. I often do the same with stir fry meals, like this yummy chicken stir-fry with ginger and basil.
make It Your Own
- Add or substitute different vegetables: bell peppers, pea pods, celery, or whatever you like. Longer cooking vegetables should be cooked together with fast cooking veggies at the end (just like a stir-fry!).
- Don’t care for the anise flavor of tarragon? Substitute a different herb, such as basil, parsley, thyme (use less), or fresh oregano.
- Both white or dark meat chicken are fine. Pork tenderloin is good, too. For a vegetarian dish, stir in cubes of baked tofu or air fryer tofu near the end of the cooking time.
- Rather have soup? Try creamy chicken rice soup or Instant Pot chicken and rice soup.
Make Ahead Ideas
Do all the prep work ahead of time and store everything in the fridge until you’re ready to get cooking. Cut up the chicken and slice the onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Peel the garlic cloves and harvest the tarragon (if it’s coming from your garden). It will be a breeze to get dinner on the table.
Storage & Reheating Suggestions
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a tightly covered container for up to 3 days. If you’d like to keep it longer, store in the freezer for up to one month. For best results, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Reheat in a skillet or saucepan on the stove, or reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments until heated through.
Try adding additional broth to leftover chicken and vegetables to make an easy and delicious soup. Heat broth, chicken, and vegetables in a saucepan until nice and hot. Stir in cooked noodles, if desired, or serve with homemade croutons.
- 1-2 tablespoons grapeseed, olive, or avocado oil, divided
- 1 ½ lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs (trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 16 oz white mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups sliced onion, cut into ¼ inch quarter moons (1 large onion)
- 1 cup sliced carrots (about 3 medium carrots cut into ¼ inch slices)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon (more for garnish)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup dry couscous, cooked according to package directions
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Chicken doesn’t need to be cooked through. Transfer to a clean plate.
- If necessary, add another tablespoon of oil to pan. Add mushrooms, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are starting to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and tarragon; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the mixture with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add broth slowly, increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Adjust heat to maintain a low simmer. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices, cover and cook about 10 minutes.
- Uncover and cook 5 minutes more.
- Add peas and lemon juice to the pan and cook, uncovered, until the peas are heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Serve with prepared couscous.
- Stored leftovers in the fridge in a tightly covered container for up to 3 days. If you’d like to keep it longer, store in the freezer for up to one month. For best results, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- Reheat in a skillet or saucepan on the stove, or reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments until heated through.
- Switch up the Leftovers: Add additional broth to leftover chicken and vegetables to make an easy and delicious soup. Heat broth, chicken, and vegetables in a saucepan until nice and hot. Stir in cooked noodles, if desired, or serve with homemade croutons.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.