Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Piccata di Pollo al Limone (Chicken Piccata)

Chicken Piccata

Occasionally weekends at our house involve a full day dedicated to the process of making homemade stock. After reading the "French Laundry Cookbook" and the Culinary Institute of America's "The Professional Chef", I am always worried I will ruin the clarity by not skimming often enough. Thus my laborious process requires hours and hours of skimming, augmented with jazz curling from the computer and several glasses of wine; the end result hopefully being a beautifully clear and flavorful stock.

This past weekend was one of such weekends and I was left with a couple of chicken breasts that weren't needed for the stock. So, when Monday rolled around and I didn't feel like putting much effort into dinner, here's what I put together with the remaining poultry. This recipe is so easy and quick, yet unbelievably sophisitcated and full of flavor. I love how silky and rich the sauce tastes with the juicy chicken breasts and zesty lemon. Besides, the sauce gave me a chance to use the chicken stock I'd spent all day working on. (Of course a canned stock can also be used, but then I wouldn't have been able to enjoy all those glasses of wine while skimming.)

Recipe --

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (halves)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 thin slices of lemon
2-3 Tbs capers
Olive oil
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp paprika
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Process --

Wrap chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound until about 1/4-inch thick. Pat dry with a paper towel and sprinkle chicken breasts with salt, pepper and paprika. Most recipes call for chicken breasts to be lightly dredged in flour with seasonings mixed in. I choose to omit the flour because I like the sauce to have a clear, glassy sheen, and I find that using flour tends to make the sauce cloudy.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and pour enough olive oil to just cover the surface. Sauté chicken breasts until beautifully browned each side (approx. 3 minutes each side). Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Drain excess fat and oil from pan. Deglaze pan with chicken stock and scrape brown bits (fond) with a wooden spoon. Add wine, lemon juice, lemon slices and simmer until reduced by half then whisk in butter. Strain sauce through a fine strainer (retain lemon slices). Plate the chicken and spoon sauce over the top. Top with the lemon slices and garnish with capers (and thyme leaves or parsley if desired).

It's not Chicken Helper, but it certainly helped me get dinner on the table.

- J


Anonymous Terry B said...

This sounds simple and delicious. And I like the idea of the flourless sauce.

You might also consider not straining the sauce, but stirring in a little cooked pasta at the end, maybe farfalle, and serving it as a side.

1:19 PM  
Blogger K&J said...

Oh, that is a great idea! That would make a great side. Sides are my weakness...I usually focus all my attention on the main dish. ADD, I guess. :)

Thanks for visting!


6:10 PM  

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