Quick Chicken with Garlic, Tarragon, and Red Wine


The Pressure Cooker Gourmet

Published by Harvard Common Press

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

A dish with a history always attracts my attention. This one does, certainly, because it’s one from my own history beginning with my second cookbook, Good and Plenty: America’s New Home Cooking, which I co-authored with Susanna Hoffman. At first we called it Desperation Chicken because it was what she made when kids needed feeding, very right now. It was quick off the stove top, and she devised many variations to keep them, their friends, and herself interested as the dish got turned out over and over again, but always with a new twist. From there to the microwave version that we developed for our Well-Filled Microwave Cookbook, and now to the pressure cooker, the dish remains a winner for when you desperately need dinner sooner rather than later.

Makes4 servings

Cooking Methodpressure cooking



Total Timeunder 15 minutes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free

Equipmentpressure cooker


Moodstressed, tired

Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, meaty, savory, winey


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 large cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, or ½ teaspoon dried, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over high heat until beginning to smoke. Add the thighs, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and turn to coat. Add the garlic, tarragon, and red wine. Lock on the lid and bring to pressure over high heat, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes to finish cooking.

  2. With the steam vent pointed away from your face, gently release any remaining pressure. Transfer the thighs to a serving platter and set aside in a warm place.

  3. Reduce the juices left in the pot over high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in the butter and pour over the thighs. Garnish with extra tarragon and serve.

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