Cook with me: lemon caper chicken

I love to cook. I’ve been cooking since I was a child, bur what I know is from my parents, cooks illustrated, & cooking shows. I like to cook simply with minimum ingredients. This is a meal that satisfies me in many ways. It seems fancy, it’s easy, it can be a company dinner or a weeknight dinner easily. I make it a lot!

Basically, this is sauteed chicken breasts with a pan sauce. I serve with a cooked green veggie–whatever I have on hand be it green beans, zucchini, asparagus or broccoli. Pairs well with potatoes, rice, risotto, or pasta!

Regarding risotto. Many people are afraid to make it because of the stirring commitment. Risotto doesn’t need to be stirred continuously, just frequently. Since I’m already at the stove making the chicken and sauce, I make risotto here. If I’m grilling chicken, I make regular rice.

This recipe is easily adjusted for the size if the party eating. This recipe is for 2 adults, 2 children.

Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce, zucchini and mashed potatoes.

One package of thin sliced chicken breast fillets

Flour

2 tablespoon capers

1 lemon

olive oil

1 shallot finely minced (you can substitute about 2 tablespoons of finely minced onion)

low sodium chicken broth.  2 cans

1 tbsp softened butter.

Zucchini (about four medium)

2 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)

Yukon Gold, white or red potatoes (not russet)–peeled

1 can evaporated milk

4 tbsp butter

salt

pepper

STEP ONE.  Dice zucchini.  Generously salt with kosher salt.  Toss.  Put in colander over a bowl and let drain while preparing everything else (the longer it sits, the more water will leach from the zucchini, so I do this before I cut up the shallot.

STEP TWO (OMIT IF USING VARIATIONS BELOW).  Cut potatoes into chunks (about 2 inches).  Put in pot and cover and add one can of low sodium chicken broth, and water to cover.  Turn burner on medium high and cover with lid.  Check potatoes after 15 minutes.  If easily pierced with knife, and the potato feels soft, they are done.  Drain.  If the potatoes are too wet (over cooked), put back on the burner on low to evaporate out some of the liquid.  The potatoes will cook while the other food is cooking.

STEP THREE.  rinse and pat chicken dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put about 1 cup of flour on a plate, and lay chicken into flour and scoop flour over it.  Lift chicken and shake off excess flour.  Meanwhile, pour enough olive oil into pan to the depth of about 1/8 inch and heat it on medium high (in 12 inch pan, about 2 tablespoons).  Oil should shimmer. 

STEP FOUR.  Carefully lay chicken in hot oil.  When edges turn white, about 3-5 minutes, carefully lift chicken.  If it sticks, it’s not done yet, so let it keep cooking.  If it doesn’t stick, check color.  When golden brown, turn over and cook other side.  When done, set the chicken aside.

STEP FIVE.  Heat oil in medium sized skillet (10 inches).  Put zucchini into a hot pan with two minced or pressed garlic cloves and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Cook until done (won’t take long).  Do this while making the sauce (next step)

STEP SIX.  Put shallot in hot oil and cook until soft.  Add ½ cup white wine.  Reduce by half.  Add ½  cup of chicken broth and let it reduce by half.  It should get slightly thick from the leftover flour in the oil. Add 2 tablespoons of capers.  Remove from heat, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (or more or less depending on your taste).  Swirl in one tablespoon of softened butter.  Spoon over chicken.

STEP SEVEN (done while sauce is cooking—SKIP IF USING VARIATION).  Mash potatoes with a beedle (potato masher) or process through a ricer.  Don’t use a mixer as that can make the potatos gummy.  Mash until mostly lump free (a few lumps are good).  Add 4 tbsp of butter to potatoes and add evaporated milk a little at a time.  Stir to incorporate.  Add milk until they are the texture you want.

VARIATION One (great for weeknights)

Substitute rice for potatoes.  In a 2 qt covered pyrex casserole.  Place one cup of uncooked rice and one can of chicken broth.  Microwave 15 minutes or use rice button on microwave. 

VARIATION two (also good for weeknights)

Substitute rice pilaf for potatoes.  Dice one medium onion.  Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a 10 inch skillet.  Cook onion until soft.  Add one cup of rice.  Stir rice until opaque.  Add one can of chicken broth.  Cover and cook on medium low for 15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed and rice texture is cooked.  Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice if desired. 

VARIATION three

Substitute Risotto for potatoes.  In STEP TWO: Dice finely one small onion.  Hat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet on medium high.  Cook onion until softened, add 1 cup of ARBORIO Rice (don’t substitute types of rice—if you can’t find Arborio, make the pilaf instead).  Stir rice until opaque.  Add ½ cup of white wine.  Stir frequently. When wine is absorbed, add 32 ounces of chicken broth, one cup at a time (add one cup, let it almost all the way absorb, add another cup).  While adding broth and stirring, you will be cooking the chicken and making the sauce.  When all broth absorbed, test rice.  If done, add 4 tbsp of butter and stir to melt, then add ½ cup grated good quality parmesan, stir and serve.  If not done, add water in ½ cup increments, stirring frequently until done.  Stirring frequently helps release the natural starches and makes the risotto creamy.

When you’ve made this a few times, it gets easier, and easier, and amounts are easy to adjust.  

Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce, zucchini and mashed potatoes.

 

One package of thin sliced chicken breast fillets

Flour

2 tablespoon capers

1 lemon

olive oil

1 shallot finely minced (you can substitute about 2 tablespoons of finely minced onion)

low sodium chicken broth.  2 cans

1 tbsp softened butter.

Zucchini (about four medium)

2 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)

Yukon Gold, white or red potatoes (not russet)–peeled

1 can evaporated milk

4 tbsp butter

salt

pepper

 

STEP ONE.  Dice zucchini.  Generously salt with kosher salt.  Toss.  Put in colander over a bowl and let drain while preparing everything else (the longer it sits, the more water will leach from the zucchini, so I do this before I cut up the shallot.

 

STEP TWO (OMIT IF USING VARIATIONS BELOW).  Cut potatoes into chunks (about 2 inches).  Put in pot and cover and add one can of low sodium chicken broth, and water to cover.  Turn burner on medium high and cover with lid.  Check potatoes after 15 minutes.  If easily pierced with knife, and the potato feels soft, they are done.  Drain.  If the potatoes are too wet (over cooked), put back on the burner on low to evaporate out some of the liquid.  The potatoes will cook while the other food is cooking.

 

STEP THREE.  rinse and pat chicken dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put about 1 cup of flour on a plate, and lay chicken into flour and scoop flour over it.  Lift chicken and shake off excess flour.  Meanwhile, pour enough olive oil into pan to the depth of about 1/8 inch and heat it on medium high (in 12 inch pan, about 2 tablespoons).  Oil should shimmer. 

 

STEP FOUR.  Carefully lay chicken in hot oil.  When edges turn white, about 3-5 minutes, carefully lift chicken.  If it sticks, it’s not done yet, so let it keep cooking.  If it doesn’t stick, check color.  When golden brown, turn over and cook other side.  When done, set the chicken aside.

 

STEP FIVE.  Heat oil in medium sized skillet (10 inches).  Put zucchini into a hot pan with two minced or pressed garlic cloves and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Cook until done (won’t take long).  Do this while making the sauce (next step)

 

STEP SIX.  Put shallot in hot oil and cook until soft.  Add ½ cup white wine.  Reduce by half.  Add ½  cup of chicken broth and let it reduce by half.  It should get slightly thick from the leftover flour in the oil. Add 2 tablespoons of capers.  Remove from heat, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (or more or less depending on your taste).  Swirl in one tablespoon of softened butter.  Spoon over chicken.

 

STEP SEVEN (done while sauce is cooking—SKIP IF USING VARIATION).  Mash potatoes with a beedle (potato masher) or process through a ricer.  Don’t use a mixer as that can make the potatos gummy.  Mash until mostly lump free (a few lumps are good).  Add 4 tbsp of butter to potatoes and add evaporated milk a little at a time.  Stir to incorporate.  Add milk until they are the texture you want.

 

VARIATION One (great for weeknights)

Substitute rice for potatoes.  In a 2 qt covered pyrex casserole.  Place one cup of uncooked rice and one can of chicken broth.  Microwave 15 minutes or use rice button on microwave. 

 

VARIATION two (also good for weeknights)

Substitute rice pilaf for potatoes.  Dice one medium onion.  Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a 10 inch skillet.  Cook onion until soft.  Add one cup of rice.  Stir rice until opaque.  Add one can of chicken broth.  Cover and cook on medium low for 15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed and rice texture is cooked.  Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice if desired. 

 

VARIATION three

Substitute Risotto for potatoes.  In STEP TWO: Dice finely one small onion.  Hat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet on medium high.  Cook onion until softened, add 1 cup of ARBORIO Rice (don’t substitute types of rice—if you can’t find Arborio, make the pilaf instead).  Stir rice until opaque.  Add ½ cup of white wine.  Stir frequently. When wine is absorbed, add 32 ounces of chicken broth, one cup at a time (add one cup, let it almost all the way absorb, add another cup).  While adding broth and stirring, you will be cooking the chicken and making the sauce.  When all broth absorbed, test rice.  If done, add 4 tbsp of butter and stir to melt, then add ½ cup grated good quality parmesan, stir and serve.  If not done, add water in ½ cup increments, stirring frequently until done.  Stirring frequently helps release the natural starches and makes the risotto creamy.

 

When you’ve made this a few times, it gets easier, and easier, and amounts are easy to adjust. 

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