Monday, March 24, 2008

Meals on Wheels (Sort Of)

Four years ago when Hallie was born my friend Kelly brought me Chicken Piccata. It became an instant hit with our family—chicken cutlets in a creamy lemon sauce. Mmm..good. (Then again, if you read my Lemon Love Affair blog you know I’m a sucker for anything lemon.) Since then I make it all the time—for company, for Food 101 with my sister Carolyn, and tonight I made it for a friend of mine (Carly) who just had a baby of her own. I don’t think I’m ultra talented at too much, but I can cook and sew. So whenever sign-ups go around in my LDS ward to take a meal to a new mom or someone who is having surgery, I almost always sign up. I’d rather take someone dinner than weed their yard or babysit their kids anyday! Hey, it’s how I help! The last time I took a meal to someone was in January and it was Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Linguine. Don’t you wish you were sick now? Maybe in 4 years Carly will return the favor to someone else and take a new mom Chicken Piccata. Yup, I’m changing the world, one good recipe at a time.

Chicken Piccata
2 large lemons
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced crosswise into cutlets
Table salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons) or 1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons small capers, drained
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof plate on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Halve one lemon pole to pole. Trim ends from one half and cut crosswise into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick; set aside. Juice remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup juice; reserve.

3. Sprinkle both sides of cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Measure flour into pie tin or shallow baking dish. Working one cutlet at a time, coat with flour, and shake to remove excess.

4. Heat heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes; add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl pan to coat. Lay half of chicken pieces in skillet. Sauté cutlets, without moving them, until lightly browned on first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn cutlets and cook until second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and transfer cutlets to plate in oven. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add remaining chicken pieces and repeat.

5. Add shallot or garlic to now-empty skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds for shallot or 10 seconds for garlic. Add stock and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and scrape skillet bottom with wooden spoon or spatula to loosen browned bits. Simmer until liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and capers and simmer until sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter until butter melts and thickens sauce; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.


Ilene said...

Oh, this is a staple in our house too. Love the capers, lemon, and shallots. Funny, I could care less about the chicken. Most of the time I just want the sauce and rice. Who wants protein when you can have carbs smothered in a buttery sauce?

I seriously have problems.

I signed up to take a dinner for a girl I visit teach but I just got her family a pizza. Easter weekend errands coupled with cleaning a house for house hunters means as little cooking as possible for me.

Anonymous said...

Now I am craving a rich buttery dinner at 9:30 am :-) I will definitely try this soon or I will weed your yard and you can cook it for me :-)

thefoxkids said...

I am SOOO making this, this week!Thanks Cynthia!

Jen said...

Cyn, You are out of control. NEVER come to my house for dinner or you will be shocked! Everything you made for dinner that month sounds like something I would buy at an expensive restruant. I guess I could make my waffles with cut up strawberries, bananna's and strawberry coolwhip sound good somehow (that's what we had last night) or my tasty homemade mac and chesse sound expensive? I don't know how you do it. My poor husband might be knocking on your door any minute for some real cooking! No, I guess I do cook, but it's hard with very picky kids. They are getting better...but not as good as your kids sound! I will continue to work up to my food snob friends level...until then...the leak is still sitting in the fridge.


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