Have you ever had one of those weeks when nothing that was planned seems to go right? The first time I made this lovely Lemon Chicken for my family, it was one of those crazy weeks. I had planned to fix this Lemon Chicken dish as a mid-week supper. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness had other plans. What started out to be a Wednesday dinner ended up on my table the following Saturday night. The supper turned out to be an absolute delight.
This little gem of a recipe came from A Year At The Table (ayearatthetabl.com) The approach to cooking at A Year At The Table is to offer recipes based on seasons – not only for ingredients but also lifestyle. Let’s face it, our lives change with the seasons. In the summer, we do more outdoor things – including the way we entertain. My favorite seasons are spring and fall.
Italian Lemon Chicken Saute is remarkably simple, yet so delicious. This recipe was easy to prepare, making it perfect for busy cooks. The flavor of the dish wonderful, and the presentation beautiful. This is a recipe I would not hesitate to make for company.
Just a couple of quick notes. First off, the original recipe is one of those that has you place the boneless skinless chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound it thin. That’s all fine and well, but for me so often the meat tears or is bruised. I simply slice the breast in half, as though you are butterflying the breast, except you cut all the way through creating two thin uninjured breasts. It’s entirely up to you. Splitting the breast works well if you have a VERY sharp, thin filet knife. It also helps if the meat isn’t completely thawed. If you are using fresh breast, just pop them in the freezer long enough to firm up a bit. Slightly frozen meat makes the chicken easier to handle, less chance of a knife slipping. Believe me, I know and the scars on my hands stand in silent testimony to life’s lessons learned.
Also, the original recipe did not call for a splash of white wine. I love wine in foods, especially in a dish such as this one. It’s very similar to a Piccata with the lemons and butters, so the introduction of wine seemed natural to me. Finally, the original recipe called for chicken broth. I used organic chicken stock. It’s a personal preference, but I find the flavor of organic stock to be deeper.
Those are the only deviations from the original recipe. Otherwise, it’s the recipe developed by Linda Burner Augustine. Linda suggests switching limes or oranges for the lemons, using cilantro or basil instead of the parsley. As you can see, this is a wonderful recipe to have on hand as a spring-board to whatever suits your fancy.
Italian Lemon Chicken Saute
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
1/2 cup flour
fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Splash of white wine (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Place each chicken breast between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and pound to ½-inch thickness. Or split breast as you would to butterfly, creating two thin-cut breasts. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper; dredge in flour and shake off excess.
In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil. When butter starts to sizzle, add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. DO NOT move chicken – allow it to sit and brown. This will impart a deeper flavor to the sauce and result in a superior finished meal. Turn chicken and cook until browned on other side, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken to plate and keep warm (if you have butterflied the breasts, creating 8 thin breasts, cook chicken in two batches, dividing butter and olive oil in half for each batch).
In the same pan, add the chicken stock, lemon juice, wine and lemon zest; bring to simmer, scraping up bits on bottom of pan for flavor. Season with salt and pepper. Cut remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces. Return chicken to pan, sprinkle with butter and simmer over low heat until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove chicken to serving platter or plates. Add parsley to the sauce, stir to blend. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.
If desired, garnish with whole parsley leaves and thin slices of lemon.
This chicken goes well with pan-grilled asparagus and herb-tomato salad.