Thursday, December 6, 2012

Recipe: Lemon Caper Cream Chicken

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch. – James Beard

Next to no time to make, but certainly doesn't taste like something "quick."

I’ve used that quote before, but it’s such a fun one it bears repeating. Also, this dish is a little tart and with the cream it's not really "diet" food.

The ingredients may sound  a bit unusual for a pasta sauce, but they’re not really. The result is a creamy concoction with complex flavours that I’m sure your family will love.

The onions, garlic and mushrooms. The "fond" from the
bottom of the pan gives a brown colour to the sauce.
The inspiration for this dinner came from carbonara, believe it or not. At least the idea of capers did, and I built out from there. For example, lemon is a natural accompaniment for capers, I already had mushrooms, etc., etc…

So I guess some of the inspiration can also be blamed on my pantry. All meals should have an element of that.

There’s quite a few Italian-inspired dishes that use lemon and cream. No one less than Lidia Bastianich (Lidia’s Italy, PBS and several famous restaurants) has a recipe for maccheroni with lemon cream.

There’s also vermicelli with lemon cream and many others. Gremolata is a famous Italian meat accompaniment made with parsley, garlic and lemon zest. So my cues are all coming from sound sources.

Of course Italians also use lemons for dessert. Good ones, too… Maybe one will appear here soon.

This sauce is a delicious combination of different tastes. Somewhat tart, a little salty and earthy. If you’re looking for a new way to serve chicken this is something you should try.

Just a quick note about "fast." Prep and cook times listed for recipes can be misleading. Many recipes (mine included) list them separately and may give a misleading idea of how much time something takes to prepare.

Most times some preparation is done while something else is cooking. For example in this one the onion, garlic and mushrooms are prepared while the chicken is searing. So really this recipe can be ready in about 18 minutes.

How’s that for putting something tasty and delicious on the table in a flash?

Recipes like this are especially handy as life gets more hectic as the Holidays approach. Keep it on the back burner. Not literally – you know what I mean!

Finish cooking the chicken in the sauce.
Lemon Caper Cream Chicken
Prep: 5 min  |  Cook: 18 min  |  Serves 4
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt 
pepper to taste
1 med onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
250 g crimini mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp capers
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream

Heat the butter in a wide sauté pan. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and sear on both sides until brown. The breasts do not have to be cooked through. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes. If you feel you need to add a little more butter do so. Then add the white wine, capers, stock and cream. Bring to a boil and let cook until reduced by half.

Stir in the chopped parsley. Then add the chicken breasts back to the pan. Let cook until they are done through and the liquid is reduced to a sauce that coats a spoon.

Serve on top of spaghetti.


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