Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baked Lemon Chicken

Every now and then we invite a visitor to join us for our Wednesday evening dinners.  We don’t expect them to bring anything, we just periodically like to share our evening with a new face.

The town in which we live is filled with amazing and talented people…. professors, entrepreneurs, entertainers, attorneys, artists (of all types) and authors.  Once such author — a children’s book author — is a mutual friend of ours and we had the pleasure of her company this past Wednesday.  We listened as she delighted us with the antics of some new characters she is developing.  

When you read a book written by an author you know personally, there’s a deeper appreciation for the words, and in this case, the absolutely stunning illustrations that bedazzle the words, like that little critter right over there, Skippyjon Jones.  I envision our dear friend in her studio, pen in hand, wangling inspiration from the world around her all so she can make her readers smile.  

And smile we do.

I live vicariously through such creative people.  It was a joy spending time with her.

And she brought a really good bottle of wine.  

And flowers.

As you read in the Zucchini Brownie post, Younger Daughter has a friend at the University of Delaware who is a bit of healthy foodie and Younger Daughter likes to share her recipes.  As you also read before, I stress when it’s my turn to cook…I ponder for days what to make.  I want to serve something healthy and tasty while being mindful of mixing the menu up from past meals.

So once again I borrowed inspiration from the UDel fledging foodie and made a version of her Lemon Chicken, gussied-up a bit courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa.

Many cultures dish out their own version of lemon chicken.  It’s a standard on any Chinese restaurant menu (along with orange chicken) and in Italy pollo al limone is a roasted whole chicken drizzled with white wine, fresh lemon juice, fresh thyme, celery and onions.  On Wednesday, I served boneless chicken breasts (Target stocks some flavorful organic chicken!), coated with flour, lightly fried and baked in a luscious lemon sauce.

Baked Lemon Chicken
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa and Foodie Friend

Chicken Breasts
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded to 1/4”
1 cup of milk
1 cup flour with 1 tablespoon dried oregano mixed in
Butter for frying

Lemon Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (I still have some in my garden; I used lemon thyme)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter (and a bit of olive oil if you’d like) in a large frying pan.  Dredge the chicken breasts in the milk and then the flour/oregano mixture and lightly fry each breast half until golden but not cooked all the way through.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute (but no brown garlic!). Remove the pan from the stove and add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour mixture into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish and place the fried chicken breasts on top.  Spoon a little sauce on top, cut the lemon into wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for about 25 minutes,until the chicken is done and browned enough. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and then a towel (to keep it warm) and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

I served the chicken with Risotto and Peas. Yum.  We had our cobbler dessert in front of the was a perfectly lovely evening.   Buenas noches, mis amigos!

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