Wednesday, November 2, 2011

John's Favorite Chicken

Basically from the time I was around 8 years old until I graduated high school, I did not eat beef, pork, or seafood.  Yeah, slightly picky.  Since I wasn't a vegetarian, this seemingly left one source of protein for me to eat - chicken.  I was essentially raised on boneless, sinless chicken breasts.  While my family was grilling out steaks, eating burgers, tacos, etc...I ate chicken.  Some might say this enabled my picky habits, but I feel grateful to have had a mom who was never going to force me to eat something I didn't want and who embraced my affinity for white meat versus red meat.  Funny how taste changes though - I went off to college, met this guy John, and came home all of a sudden willing to eat things I'd never eaten before.  Salmon, steaks, the occasional (like once or twice a year) cheeseburger.  I remember my parents commenting that they served me chicken for 20 years, and all I did was meet John and my taste buds changed overnight.  :-)

My point in all of this chicken discussion is that once my taste expanded and I started liking seafood, then pork, and then the occasional red meat, chicken got thrown to the backburner.  I went through a few years where I just didn't want it - I'd had enough.  Recently, however, chicken and I have come to turns and it is now back in my life. 

This chicken could not be easier to make and it always ends up tasting so good!  Whenever we're having a "what should we have" moment, John ends up requesting this dish.  And chances are you can make it with items that you already have in your pantry.

Pan Seared Lemon Chicken
Serves 2

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup flour
olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 - 1 cup chicken broth OR white wine
juice of 1 lemon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat about 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat in a large sautee pan.  Thoroughly pound out two chicken breasts until they are about 1/2 inch thin (or thinner) and even throughout.*  Season well with salt and pepper and dredge each side in flour.  When oil/butter are heated, add garlic and place chicken breasts on the pan and begin cooking.  Cook each side until golden brown, for about 5 minutes.

Remove chicken from pan and either set aside if fully cooked, or place in a 400 degree oven to finish cooking if it needs some more time.  More often than not, I do this as I quickly make the sauce on the stove top, because I am always paranoid about undercooked chicken.

To make the sauce, pour the chicken broth in the same pan that you used to make the chicken.  Stir and be sure to scrape up all of the bits of the chicken that was previously cooked.  Add the jucie of one lemon and turn the heat down to low to simmer.  If you need more chicken broth, add some here until you get the consistency you want.

Remove chicken from the oven and immediately pour the sauce over the chicken.  Garnish with lemon slices and something green, like parsley, and serve.

 *This is a really important step when cooking any boneless chicken breasts and is key to ending up with tender, evenly cooked chicken.  Until I realized this, I could never cook chicken in the pan right - I'd end up burning it before the middle got cooked all the way through. 

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