Do you ever find yourself making the same dishes for dinner over and over again? Does your family crawl to the dinner table with lackluster enthusiasm? Break out of the mold and surprise them with this Easy Lemon Chicken Piccata.
When it comes to mealtime, I’ve been trying to get out of my own rut lately. I think back to some of the more memorable dinners we used to enjoy while dining out in southern California. There was a lovely Italian restaurant just a short drive from our house that came to mind. They prepared the most tender, delicious veal piccata.
Just thinking about it made my mouth water, begging for a chicken version with a lemony tang smothered in a delicate, buttery sauce.
Country living can come with a price. We would be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that serves any version of piccata in a 300+ mile radius. This is where I have to adapt. Not that it’s a bad thing. In fact, it forces me to be creative in the kitchen.
I came up with a tasty, tender, less fussy version that’s easy to make at home.
This is one of those dishes that gets overlooked as a homemade dinner option, especially at the end of a busy day. All you need is a little bit of preparation, one large skillet and about 30 minutes.
Piccata is a dish that originated in Italy, and is a term used to describe the method by which it is prepared. Meat is sliced, pounded thin, coated in flour, then sautéed. The pan drippings are used to make a finishing sauce.
To make it easy, and more budget-friendly, I picked up butcher-cut breasts that were butterflied. In other words, two large breasts that are attached. It costs less (at least it is at my local store) to purchase it this way, and they tend to be much larger than the ones prepackaged from other farms. It’s usually already packaged in the meat section.
Once I get home, I rinse and cut the breasts in half, then slice them crosswise in 1/2-inch thickness. This is something you can do the day before so all you have to do is start cooking when you’re ready to make the piccata. You can also slice up a lemon, wrap it, and store it in the fridge until ready for use.
Forget the pounding part. These medallions can be cooked just like this. Flouring them is optional, though I highly recommend it because it seals in the juices which keeps them tender. Otherwise, the chicken can turn out very dry.
Once they’ve been browned and cooked through in the skillet, the pieces can be removed and placed on a rack in a lined cookie sheet to keep warm in the oven. The same pan is used to make the finishing sauce.
When all of the ingredients are incorporated, the aroma of herbs and lemon can be quite heady. It smells divine while it simmers. Your family will wonder if they’re in the right house. Unless this is standard fare at your hacienda.
Chicken piccata is an elegant stove-top wonder, and soooo tasty. I like to serve it with asparagus and rice pilaf (from a box – GASP – even I take the easy route). Keep it simple. This entree is fitting to be served at a dinner party, too. Your guests will feel indulged by the savory deliciousness of the meal.
Whether for yourself, family, or friends, change things up and give this recipe a try. It might become one of those dishes you return to time and time again. At which point you’ll have to come up with something new. For now, it’s a definite meal changer.
Here’s the handy printable recipe.
- 2 pounds chicken breasts, rinsed and sliced crosswise in ½" thickness
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 2 cups chicken broth (or water and chicken bouillon equivalent)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (I like to use prepared freeze-dried)
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1 lemon, sliced thin, for garnish
- Heat oven to 170 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil, and place rack on top. Set aside.
- In a shallow plate, mix ½ cup flour, salt and pepper with fork.
- Pat sliced chicken pieces dry.
- Dredge chicken in flour to lightly cook. Shake off any excess flour.
- In a large fry pan or skillet placed on stovetop, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
- Add additional oil if needed, enough to coat bottom of pan.
- When oil is hot, gently place floured chicken slices in even layer in pan.
- Cook until light golden brown, then turn and cook through until meat is done, approx. 5 minutes.
- Remove chicken from pan and place on rack in cookie sheet.
- Keep warm in oven.
- Meanwhile, wipe excess oil from pan with paper towels.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in pan over medium heat.
- Add garlic. Whisk in 3 tablespoons flour until smooth.
- Slowly add the chicken broth, whisking constantly until blended.
- Add lemon juice, parsley, additional 1 tablespoon butter, and capers.
- Continue to cook until thickened and heated through.
- Remove chicken from oven and place pieces over sauce in pan.
- Garnish with lemon slices and additional parsley, if desired.
- Keep warm in oven until ready to serve.
Do you get in a mealtime rut? What do you do to bring forth new ideas and creativity to dinner?
It’s been pouring rain here, which is what’s needed to nourish the grass, plants, and trees. I hope you’re all enjoying an early Spring!
Thanks for checking in on my latest stirrings. Have a great day everyone!