If you happen to glance at my recipe page and notice a plethora of chicken recipes there’s a reason for that. I simply love chicken, no two ways about it. A lot of people blog a wide variety of recipes. I simply blog recipes that I like. If my recipes don’t fit the bill for you, no worries. There are so many websites to choose from these days so I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for if it’s not here.
Not only do I blog recipes that I like, but also ones that are simple but can challenge you in some regard to move yourself out of your comfort zone. My goal is to be your test kitchen by doing the work up front and giving you insights on how to be successful. I wished for a long time that I had someone who would do that for me. It can get frustrating when you fail to get things right time after time. So hopefully I can demystify a few things for you, and I hope I can learn some things from you as well.
So back to this chicken recipe. It’s relatively simple. What takes the most time is the prep. But I love to prep. Chopping, mincing, dicing, slicing – it’s therapeutic for me. Don’t let the prep make you shy away from making this. So much can be done ahead and then once it’s time to cook, everything goes relatively quickly. I made this with a brussels sprouts, pancetta and sun-dried tomato side and it was a little tricky balancing the steps between both. But it was all worth it when my husband kept saying, “This dinner is really good.” Enjoy this recipe and my lessons learned…
Lesson Learned 1 – Cooking with lemon slices: First you need to slice the lemon into even-sized thin rounds. The best way to do this is with a mandolin slicer. In a past recipe I spent quite a bit of time talking about how great a mandolin slicer can be and also how dangerous it can be to use. Just be careful when you use one. But as you can see from the picture, the mandolin will give you even-sized thin rounds.
In the recipe you actually sauté the lemon rounds. It gives the chicken and sauce a delightful flavor and also serves as a garnish for the chicken when you serve it. The trick is to cook them quickly, no longer than about 45 seconds. Once you notice the lemons starting to turn brown, as you can see in the picture to the right, remove them from the pan. You want them to be slightly browned but you don’t want them to loose their shape or too much of their sections.
Lesson Learned 2 – Make sure the chicken breasts are no thicker than 3/4 inch: The thin breasts cook quickly, about 4 minutes per side. I took regular chicken breasts and with a sharp knife cut them in half. That gave me 3/4 inch pieces. You can also take a breast and pound it out to that thickness and then cut it into portion size pieces. Whatever is easier.
Lesson Learned 3 – Be organized when making this recipe: I like this recipe not only because it’s flavorful, and believe me it is, but because once you’re done with the prep, the rest is a breeze and goes quite quickly. But the trick is to be organized and have everything prepped up front. I systematically go through the list of ingredients and see what needs to be done with each. Then I put each ingredient into little prep bowls and set them aside until it’s time to use them. Just be careful, you don’t want to prep some things too far ahead. Something like flat leaf parsley that you use for a garnish is best prepped right before you want to use it. If I’m not sure about something I prep it, cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator until it’s time to start cooking. I am not suggesting doing your prep hours in advance. I normally start, depending upon the requirements of the recipe, about an hour before I plan on cooking it. The key is to have everything chopped, diced, sliced, etc., before you start. You will have no time to do this work once you start the cooking process.
Now that I come to think of it, this really applies to any recipe. It is so important to understand it and stick to the process, especially when you’re learning to maneuver your way around a kitchen. Ready recipes thoroughly (at least twice all the way through), understand the terminology, prep ahead and go through the process as designed. This will help to ensure your success with any recipe.
I really like this recipe and will definitely make it often. I hope you try it and let me know what you think.
Lemon Chicken With Garlic And Capers
2 small lemons cut into thin rounds
1 1/2 tsp. of sugar
4 cloves of garlic, halved
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 3/4 of an inch thick
2-3 Tbs. olive oil (I used garlic infused olive oil)
2 Tbs. butter
2 tsp. grated shallot
1/2 tsp. grated garlic
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (use can use 1 fresh spring as well)
1 fresh thyme sprig (you can use dried – I preferred to have at least one herb fresh)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 tsp. flour
1 Tbs. capers, drained and rinsed
flat leaf parsley for garnish, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the lemons and combine in a bowl with the sugar and garlic. Set aside. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium high heat add the oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Add the chicken to the pan and cook about 4 minutes each side. Remove the chicken front the pan, put on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
If needed, add some oil to the pan and add the lemon mixture. Cook stirring occasionally until the lemons start to turn a light brown. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.
Add 1 1/2 tsp. butter to the pan and once melted add the grated shallots, grated garlic and herbs. Cook for about a minute. Add the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and stir for about a minute, just to remove any floury taste. Add the chicken stock and whisk while bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to whisk until the liquid has thickened and reduced by a third. Remove herb sprig(s) from pan. Add a remaining butter and capers. Stir until the sauce gets shiny. Add the chicken and lemons back into the pan. Cover the chicken with the sauce, cover the pan and cook for and additional 2-3 minutes. Serve garnished with flat leaf parsley.