Italian Lemon Chicken Saute

It’s been one of those weeks, when meal planning hasn’t worked out.  So what started out to be a weekday meal ended up on the table on a Saturday night.  This little gem came from ayearatthetable.com.  It is remarkably simple, yet so delicious.  This was easy to prepare, making it perfect for busy cooks.  The flavor is of the dish wonderful, with a beautiful presentation.  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 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.  This works well if you have a VERY sharp, thin filet knife and 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.  It makes them much easier to handle.

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, so the introduction of wine seemed natural to me.  Finally, the original recipe called for chicken broth.  I used organic chicken stock.  The flavor is 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
kosher salt
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
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.

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