Monday, January 24, 2011

Chicken With Lemon Caper Pan Sauce

This isn't the best food photo in the world, but it was a really, really good pan sauce.  If you like lemon with chicken and you like inexpensive dinners that take less than 30 minutes you'll want to make this one.

(I'll bet when you read that I feed my family dinner for $5 or less you pictured them getting hamburger helper and spaghetti didn't you?  Nope.  I'm telling you, you need ATK recipe books.)

I always cut chicken breast into cutlets because there's no reason why anyone needs 8oz of chicken in one meal.  If you want cutlets, just lay a chicken breast out flat on a cutting board.  Place your non-dominate hand on the chicken to steady it, but make sure your hand is completely flat.  Do not let your fingers droop.  With your dominate hand slice the chicken in half parallel to the cutting board.   Cut all the way through so you have two thinner pieces of chicken.   Super easy and now 2 chicken breasts will feed four people and the cutlets cook in half the time. 

Chicken Cutlets with Lemon Caper Pan Sauce

2 chicken breast halves cut into cutlets
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c low sodium chicken stock or white wine
1/2 c low sodium chicken stock
Zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon
1 T capers
1 t sugar (optional)
3 T cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2" pieces

Pat the cutlets dry with paper towels and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour 1/2 T of olive oil in the bottom of a skillet and heat just until the oil is shimmering.  (The oil will look like the surface of a pond on a windy day, with little ripples running across it.)  Cook about 3 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches about 165 on an instant read thermometer.   Remove from pan and set aside.  Tent the chicken with foil to keep them warm while you make the pan sauce.

Next you're going to deglaze the pan.   Basically you pour a liquid in the pan and let it boil up all those lovely pieces of frond left on the bottom of the pan.  (Frond is the crispy bits of chicken and fat stuck to the pan. It's very good stuff and very flavorful.)  I use chicken stock to deglaze but you can use white wine if you prefer.   Pour 1/4 c of stock (or wine) in the pan and let it boil away.  With a wooden spoon, quickly scrape up the frond from the bottom of the pan.   When the boiling dies away, pour in a half cup of low sodium chicken stock, the zest and juice of one lemon, and 1T of capers.  Do a quick taste test.  If it's too bitter for you, stir in up to 1t of sugar. Let the sauce reduce by half.  Reduce the heat to medium low.  Quickly stir in the butter  one piece at a time.  I just rest my spoon on the butter and swirl it around the pan until it's melted.

Serve the sauce alongside the chicken.   If you are watching your calories and you just winced at all that butter in the recipe, relax.  You only need about a tablespoon of sauce or so.   We had it with brown rice and veggies and it was so good!   I love doing pan sauces with my chicken.  There's so much variety you can do with them and it makes a simple chicken cutlet something special. 

1 comment:

  1. just tried this pan sauce. Thanks for making it so simple. I used salted butter because that's what I had but it still was great.