Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chicken Piccata

Hello, everyone!  Happy Tuesday!  Today we're going to make some delicious chicken piccata!  Who doesn't love this dish?  White wine, capers, lemon, garlic, chicken, pasta...this is a warm, comforting hug on a plate.  It looks very impressive, and it is so, so easy.  Don't worry, if you choose to entertain with this dish, it will be our little secret.  
I would say, start to finish, this supper took me about 30 minutes to pull together.  This is ideal for a quick weekday meal!  The chicken gets a light dusting of flour, pan fried, removed, and the sauce gets built right in the same pan, which, of course, helps out with the dishes later!  I do (often) make more complicated meals, but the sink full (and, more often than not, overflowing) with dishes is a bit of a deterrent.  So, if I can whip up a very satisfying supper while only using a small handful of dishes, I'm all about it.
Enough gabbing, let's get started!  

Here's your grocery list for this one:
2 chicken breasts, cut into half, for a total of 4
2 Tbs olive oil
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1-2 Tbs caper juice
1 Tbs capers
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 C dry white wine
4 Tbs butter, unsalted, divided
2 Tbs fresh, chopped parsley, or 1 Tbs dried
Salt to taste
1/2 C flour

Chicken stock*

To start off with, take your chicken breasts, and cut them in half, horizontally, and season with your salt.  On a plate, or in a cake pan, put your flour in, and lightly press your chicken into the flour, then shake of the excess.  You don't want this to have a thick coating, like a fried chicken, but the flour on the chicken will help thicken up the sauce later on.

Once all of your chicken has a light coating of the flour, heat up about 2 Tbs of olive oil in a skillet, over medium high heat.  Once your oil is preheated, lay all of your chicken in, and cook about 5 minutes per side, then remove and set the chicken aside.

Once your chicken has finished cooking, and is resting on a dish to the side, you'll be left with this pan.  Don't worry, just take some paper towels and carefully (this is still hot oil) remove the oil.  This will leave you with the lovely brown bits to build your sauce with.

Now that you have removed your fat, time to put some back in!  Melt your butter down over low heat, and add in your garlic; let this cook for a couple of minutes, until it becomes soft.  You don't want any browning on this garlic.  If it starts to brown, take it off of the heat, and turn the heat down before putting the pan back on.

Add in your lemon juice (if you want it to have a stronger lemon flavor, add in the juice of the entire lemon, but I recommend starting with half of the juice, and adding more as you want.  You can always add more, but you can't take it out!), lemon zest, white wine, the caper juice, and the capers themselves.

I didn't have any fresh parsley, so I ended up using dried, and it worked out fine, so, at this point, add in your parsley.  I don't understand why they make caper jars so difficult to get into!  I usually just pour them out into my hand, but today I used my daughters baby spoon to scoop them out.

Let this sauce reduce slightly, and come together, for just a few minutes.  Once your sauce ingredients have had a minute to get to know one another, put your chicken back in, turning every couple of minutes, so that sauce has a chance to cling to the chicken.  While this is going on, go on and cook up your pasta according to the package directions.

A couple of minutes before serving, toss in the remaining 3 Tbs of butter, to finish the sauce off with a lovely, velvety finish.  Taste of seasonings at this point.  Add more lemon juice if you would like, add more salt if it's needed (or more caper juice - this is very salty). 
*Also, if your sauce reduces too much, you can add in some chicken stock, to loosen things up a bit more, or to stretch your sauce.  If you do add some chicken stock, taste your sauce again, to make sure that the flavors are correct.

I like to toss my pasta in my sauce, in the pan, then lay the pasta on  a plate, with the chicken down, then pour the sauce down over the top.  Ooohhhhh yeah.  This is what I'm talking about!