Friday, May 18, 2012

Grilled Chicken Recipe with Tarragon-Mustard Marinade

Grilled Tarragon-Mustard Chicken
Chicken breasts are marinated in a flavorful mustard-tarragon marinade and then grilled.

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.  Right now the tarragon in my garden is in overdrive, and this favorite grilled chicken from 2007 sounds great for dinner!)

Recently I realized it had been a while since I've had a new grilled chicken recipe. It was one of those thoughts that just flitted through my mind, not seeming to lead anywhere, and then a few days later I thought of grilling and tarragon in the same moment and this recipe was born.  If you haven't tried the distinctive flavor of tarragon, give this a try!

Most decidedly this recipe is a relative of Rosemary Mustard Grilled Chicken, but using fresh tarragon instead of rosemary gives this recipe a completely different twist. I had memories of Chicken Salad with Fresh Tarragon and Peas, which is where my love affair with fresh tarragon got started. I loved this recipe from the moment I tasted it. Grilled chicken isn't unusual, but the little touch of tarragon in the marinade for this recipe really gives it a lot of personality.

I used the mini-chopper attachment of my favorite Braun Immersion Blender to finely chop the tarragon and mix the marinade ingredients.

I shared this technique for cutting thin slits in chicken breasts to help the marinade penetrate in my previous post on How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken breasts. You might want to read that if you missed it.

Let the chicken marinate for 6-8 hours if you can to get the full impact of the tarragon flavor in the marinade.

Grilled Chicken with Tarragon-Mustard Marinade
(Makes 4 servings but can easily be doubled, recipe created by Kalyn.)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinade Ingredients:
2 T chopped fresh tarragon
2 T Dijon mustard
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic or garlic puree
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional but highly recommended)
1/3 cup olive oil

Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts. (I like to trim the chicken pieces to a fairly uniform shape, saving the scraps to make chicken stock.) Cut small crosswise slits down the length of each piece of chicken, being careful not to cut too deep.

Put fresh tarragon into mini-processor and chop very finely. Add mustard, lemon juice, garlic, Spike Seasoning and olive oil and blend together a few seconds. (If you don't have a food processor or mini-processor, you can chop the tarragon with a large chef's knife and then whisk the marinade ingredients together.)

Put chicken into Ziploc bag or flat plastic container with a snap on lid and pour marinade ingredients over. Let marinate in refrigerator 6-8 hours.

To cook, spray gas or charcoal grill with non-stick spray, then preheat grill to high. (You can only hold your hand there a few seconds at that temperature.) Let chicken come to room temperature while grill heats.

To get nice criss-cross grill marks, lay chicken breasts at a diagonal to grill slats. (I turn the temperature guage down to slightly below high when the grill marks first start to show.) After about 4 minutes (or when you see grill marks) rotate chicken 90 degrees to get second set of marks. Cook about 4 more minutes on first side (until second marks show) then turn and cook 6-8 minutes on second side. Chicken is done when it feels firm, but not hard to the touch, and is well browned. Actual cooking time will vary depending on grill temperature, but I cooked the chicken in the photo 15 minutes at medium-high most of the time. Serve hot.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This is a perfect main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. For phase one, eat it with something like Chopped Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Feta, Lemon and Thyme or Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan. For phase two or three you could add something like Tabbouleh with Almonds.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Grilled Chicken for that Summer Feeling:
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingreidients.)
Curried Chicken on the Grill with Cilantro Chutney
Very Greek Grilled Chicken
Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar
Grilled Fusion Chicken
Grilled Lime and Chile Chicken with Mango and Red Bell Pepper Salsa
Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano
Grilled Chicken with Tomato Tarragon Sauce from Simply Recipes
Lime Grilled Chicken from Stephen Cooks
Grilled Chicken Breast on a Bed of Fresh Tomatoes, Capers, Oregano, and Onions from Lucullian Delights
Yakitori, The Zen of Grilled Chicken from Tigers and Strawberries
Grilled Cilantro Citrus Chicken from Once Upon a Feast
Harissa Marinated Grilled Chicken from Alice Q. Foodie
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More to Chew On:


  1. I am sad the grilling days are coming to an end! I haven't used tarragon a whole lot, I will have to expirement with it:) This marinade looks great!!

  2. It's actually cold in Illinois today, but we'll continue using the grill for at least another month, just to get our money's worth out of it :)

  3. The combination of tarragon and mustard sounds completely inspired. Tarragon is one of the fresh herbs that I have never really gotten the hang of using in the kitchen. And I love the side of greek style salad.

  4. Maria, me too. I'm going to keep grilling as long as I can!

    Kelly, same here.

    Skinny gourmet, thanks! I don't have that much experience with tarragon at all compared to other herbs, but everything I've made with it this summer I have absolutely loved. You could enter "tarragon" into my search bar if you wanted to see the other tarragon recipes I've made.

  5. Have to make sure to try this while I still have lots of fresh tarragon in my herb garden!

  6. Silly me! I was grilling chicken outside tonight and the weather was in the 50's. Should have looked at your blog first, but I'll make this yummy recipe soon! :)

  7. I try to grill all year round, even scraping snow off the hood, if needed. Your chicken marinade sounds wonderful. I also want to try your gazpacho.

  8. What a good idea. I love mustard cooked onto meat, and don't do it often enough. It'll go on my to-do list.

  9. Mustard and tarragon together at last! Perfect, simply perfect!

  10. Perfect timing! My tarragon is in overdrive, too, and the grill is standing by.

  11. I love the combination of tarragon and mustard too - I also am looking forward to the much simpler, casual dinners this summer.


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