Easy weeknight dinner: Chicken Piccata




A lot of friends and family want to cook more but are intimidated by long lists of ingredients and complicated instructions. I decided to focus on some easy weeknight recipes that take little time to prepare. The most important thing at the end of the day is that you spend time with the people you love. Having a home cooked meal rather than a store bought one can do wonders to raise the vibration in a family. Anything I can do to strengthen relationships I will. 

So, on to the recipe. It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes to prepare. Sorry, Rachel Ray I guess I'm using your trademark "30 minutes or less".

First to be clear, this is not an Olive Garden version of chicken piccata. Cream has no place here! Besides a couple tablespoons of butter, it's cream-free.This is more of a recipe for lemon chicken. If you want a thick sauce that you'll get in an Americanized Italian restaurant, then add your cream. But, this version is for a very light light sauce.  Just a spoonful or two to coat your chicken. Made this way, it is light and pretty healthy too. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless chicken tenders
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup green olives or 2 Tablespoons capers (optional)

1. First, pound the chicken tenders to 1/2" thickness. Do this with the back of a pan or a mallet. I like to cover the chicken in plastic wrap for easy clean up.

2. Season some flour with salt and pepper in a shallow pan. 

3. Preheat a large saute pan with some oil.

Dip the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess. Fry the chicken in the pan 2-3 minutes per side on a medium heat. You don't need to cook them through, just brown them. You will put them back in the pan to cook further later.

*Don't crowd the pan. Repeat with all the chicken. Then, take the pan off the heat. When chicken is browned on both sides, place on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Now, you will work on the sauce. !!!! Don't clean the pan, those browned bits will flavor your sauce.

4. Place the pan with browned bits back on a medium heat. Add the garlic, saute for a minute, then add the white wine. Cook the wine down for a minute or too until just a few drops remain. Then, add the water and lemon juice.

Scrape up the bits in the pan with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook another minute or so until some liquid evaporates. Then, lower the heat and add the chicken to the pan. Add the olives as well.

Cover and let steam for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Right before serving, add the butter off the heat and swirl it into the sauce, coating the chicken with the sauce. Serve immediately.

A light angel hair pasta is usually paired with this dish.




Common pitfalls...

  • Don't crowd the pan when you are browning the chicken. They need to have space so it can brown nicely. 
  • Adding too much liquid to make the sauce, or not letting it reduce enough. Make sure to reduce the wine just to a few drops before adding the water and lemon juice. 















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