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Friday, December 20, 2013

Chicken Piccata

I came across this recipe for Chicken Piccata in a magazine some time ago and have made it regularly for many years.  I’m not sure what happened to the magazine clip but the ingredients are simple and preparation easy enough to remember after making it just once.

This method of preparing meat originated in Italy using thinly sliced veal dredged in flour, sautéed and served in a sauce.  

Memories of my mother making Veal Piccata in a wine sauce for us came to mind as I was putting this post together.  Although I don’t remember it ever being referred to as Piccata, it was absolutely delicious no matter what she may have called it!

Chicken can be such a versatile meat and recipes abound for each and every part of this bird.  The recipe for Chicken Breast with Mozzarella and Ham previously posted begins with the same method of preparation as for Piccata but the recipes part ways after the meat is sautéed.

Both are great make ahead recipes.  Once the chicken breasts have been thinly sliced, floured and sautéed the remaining steps can be completed just before serving in just a few minutes. 

While the Ham and Mozzarella Chicken Breasts spend the last few minutes basking in the warmth of the oven, the Piccata is busy in the skillet lavishing in its own sauce! 

Chicken Piccata
You can make as many or few chicken breasts as needed. The measurements I have posted are approximate for three medium size chicken breasts, each breast being sliced into three portions.

3 medium size chicken breasts
about 1 cup flour seasoned to taste with salt and pepper
½ lemon
about ½ cup clear chicken stock
a few tablespoons vegetable oil and a good pat of butter to sautee chicken breasts
  1. Combine chicken stock and juice of the half lemon and set aside.
  2. Slice chicken breasts and place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, pound until thin.
  3. Prepare flour, salt and pepper and dredge each piece of chicken shaking off any extra flour.
  4. Heat oil and butter until hot and brown both sides of chicken breasts (don’t worry about chicken being fully cooked as it will continue cooking in the sauce later.
  5. Remove chicken onto a plate and drain off any excess oil and butter from the skillet if necessary making sure to save all those brown bits at the bottom.  These will add flavor and help thicken the sauce.
  6. Return chicken to the skillet in a single layer and if serving immediately heat the chicken then  add the stock and lemon juice combination.  Let simmer until liquid begins to thicken turning  the chicken slices over once.
  7. Remove chicken from skillet onto serving plate and pour sauce over top.
  8. If serving later, complete all of the steps up to adding the stock and lemon and set aside.  When ready to serve, heat the chicken in the skillet, add the liquid and cook until sauce thickens..


Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • When making Homemade Chicken Soup it's a good idea to freeze a few 1/2 cup portions then defrost when needed. 
  • Good quality store bought chicken stock may also be used instead.
  • Remember to just brown the chicken slices not cooking them through since they will continue cooking in the sauce.
  • Butter and oil makes the perfect combination.  The butter provides best flavour while the addition of oil prevents the butter from burning too quickly.
  • You may want to add a little more salt and pepper before serving but the zing of the lemon juice and prepared stock usually eliminates the need for more salt, add pepper  to taste.

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