The 5:2 Diet Tarragon Chicken in a Creamy Sauce and Wine.

A Creamy Ending – Low Calorie Tarragon Chicken for the 5:2 Diet and Pinot Gris:

Today I got a craving for Tarragon Chicken.  One of the challenges with any diet, including the 5:2 diet, is that weird psychology that kicks in and makes you really want what you shouldn’t be eating.  I cared for my diabetic mother for some time and I know that she had a constant yearning for chocolate – which she excused by telling me that she was really just trying to emulate Judi Dench in Chocolat.  And, I do understand, albeit in a lesser way, on a 5:2 diet fast day while I don’t crave chocolate, I do really want something rich and creamy…and if possible a glass of wine too.

Tarragon Chicken

Now, I avoid the wine.  It’s not the calories in wine, it’s the fact that any alcohol has a tendency to slow your metabolic rate.  And, for me having two days a week when I avoid drinking alcohol is no bad thing.  But…rich tasting creamy sauces?  Well, if I can get away with it…why not.  I love tarragon too, and my plants are currently thriving despite the appalling lack of anything remotely close to summer.  So, why not try re-inventing tarragon chicken.  Traditionally I would have made this dish with a lot of butter and double cream.  By cutting out most of the oil and fat, it’s perfectly possible to make a low calorie version that comes in under 300 calories.

Low Calorie Tarragon Chicken in a Creamy Sauce for the 5:2 Diet

Serves 3-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Milk
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot


  • 300g Raw skinless chicken (Cut into 2cm cubes. Breast is lowest in calories, but can be dry treated this way. I've used thigh meat here)
  • 50ml Bouillon or chicken stock
  • 1 Medium Onion (Peeled and finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (Peeled and finely chopped)
  • 30ml Low fat creme fraiche
  • 3-4 sprigs Fresh tarragon
  • 6 Small New potatoes (scrubbed and halved)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2-3 shots 1-cal oil


  • 50ml Dry white wine (Extra bouillon or stock can replace the wine)
  • 1 teaspoon Cornflour


Step 1 Spray a heavy based pan with 1cal and gently soften the onion for 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic for the last 2 minutes then remove and set to one side
Step 2 Brown the chicken pieces in the same pan till the edges just start to caramelise
Step 3 Return the onion and garlic mix to the pan and top up with the stock and wine. Add in most of the tarragon and the bay leaves, reserving one sprig of tarragon for garnish and add in the new potatoes
Step 4 Tarragon Chicken
Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook on the hob for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft
Step 5 Remove the meat and potatoes from the pan and set to one side, keeping warm. Reduce the liquid down by a third
Step 6 Stir through the creme fraiche and add in the cornflour mixed with a little cold water. Stir until the mixture thickens slightly
Step 7 Return the meat and potatoes to the pan and heat through gently
Step 8 Serve garnished with the remaining tarragon sprigs

In fact I made enough of this 5:2 diet Tarragon Chicken for three servings.  It freezes quite well (although like all dishes with cream or creme fraiche, it is better to freeze the dish before you add the cream) and you can reheat it gently too.  So, I managed to enjoy one helping with wine.  I’d been given a bottle of Dopff & Irion Pinot Gris to review and I was looking for something that might work well as a pairing.   And, at least for me, it did work.  Pinot Gris is a grape which produced in Italy is known as Pinot Grigio and is considerably lighter.  The wine I was tasting from Alsace was really quite fruity, slightly sweet and at 13% not particularly light. Robust enough to stand up to the tarragon in my dish – and to cut through the creamy sauce.   But it still had lovely citrus and smokey notes.  I enjoyed my pairing with a light, fresh but creamy tarragon chicken, but I suspect it might work well with a seafood pasta dish or even with something like fish pie.

I’ve tasted a few wines from Dopff & Irin now, a vineyard in Alsace. You may well find them  on Restaurant wine lists and they are well worth trying – rather more full bodied than their German cousins and very easy to drink.

Pinot Gris - 5:2 diet

As a 5:2 Diet Recipe, this works rather well. at around 280 calories per serving  I served it on my fast day with steamed broccoli and I’d recommend adding a strong flavoured green vegetable – spinach, broccoli or asparagus would all work very well.

tarragon chicken


I tend to only eat two meals on a fast day, so allowing myself 300 calories for my main meal is perfectly reasonable.  If your 5:2 diet regime involves three meals, try making this dish with chicken breast instead of chicken thigh and omitting the wine.  That way this dish will be around 225 calories per portion.

creamy tarragon chicken 5:2 diet


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  1. Paul Darlow says

    Sounds fabulous – must try it. When eating the potatoes can you taste between them having been cooked in the sauce compared with being cooked separately (e.g. boiled in water) and then added back at the end? Just thinking it might be easier to control the cooking of the potatoes if they’re boiled in water.

  2. Maya Russell says

    Tarragon and chicken has to be one of my favourite combinations. This would work well cooked in a Swiss Diamond Saute Pan.

  3. Nickie Chapman says

    I often rustle up a chicken and tarragon recipe like this – just through a bit of this, a bit of that – but always use cream. I’ll definitely give this a go and save the calories. Thanks!

  4. belinda porter says

    I love this and thank you for such clear instructions especially the freezer tip too this would be lovely cooked in the Swiss Diamond Saute Pan.

  5. Gill Abrahams says

    This sounds great – and doesn’t seem at all as though I’dbe dieting when eating it! It would cook very well in the Swiss Diamond Saute Pan.

  6. Jo Booth says

    It sounds yummy, and you wouldn’t think it was a diet recipe ! I will have to try out this one, thank you :-)

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