This recipe for chicken piccata has been a staple in my recipe binder for years. It is sophisticated enough to serve to company, yet simple enough for a kitchen novice to master. When my neighbor Rob was called up to military duty in Afghanistan in 2009, I promised him that I would teach his wife, my friend J, to cook while he was deployed. It was partly a favor to him and partly pay-back for her as she is the one who sold me on the idea of keeping chickens by telling me that “they’re less work than a dog!” I shared my recipe on BackyardChickens. com back then and think it worthy of re-publishing to share with you here.
I chose this dish for J because the method of cooking is a basic technique all cooks should know and once mastered, can be paired with an endless variety of sauces. J mastered it in very short order (one smoky kitchen notwithstanding) and Rob was pleasantly surprised upon his return.
The dish is simple, quick and flavorful. If you don’t care for capers, leave them out and substitute your favorite herb.
DINNER IN 25 MINUTES OR LESS!
6 THINLY sliced chicken breasts (3 regular sized breasts cut in half horizontally and pounded to the same thickness)* see time-saving tip below
3/4 cup flour (seasoned with salt, pepper & garlic powder)
2-3 large backyard, fresh eggs, beaten
4-6 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sauteed baby bella mushrooms, sliced- OPTIONAL
3/4 cup white wine (drinking wine only)
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
3 Tablespoons capers (or more, to taste)
cooked orzo, rice or egg noodles
LET’S MAKE IT!
Beat eggs w/ a little milk or water in shallow dish. Place seasoned flour on a shallow dish next to the egg dish in assembly line fashion.
Dip chicken in egg mixture, then dredge on both sides in a plate of seasoned flour (salt, pepper and some garlic powder). Set aside until all chicken is coated.
Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a sauté pan over medium to medium high heat. It is critical not to have the pan too hot or it will smoke and the chicken will burn before it is fully cooked.
Sauté a few pieces of chicken at a time, adding more oil and butter if pan gets dry (don’t crowd pan).
**If pan begins to smoke, the heat is TOO HIGH, remove the pan from the heat briefly, turn down the heat and add a little more oil and/or butter if necessary.
Remove chicken from pan when browned on both sides.
Optional: Lower heat to medium and add some baby Bella mushrooms to the pan and sauté until soft before adding the wine. Add some white wine to deglaze the pan (3/4 cup or so) and whisk to break up the bits of butter and flour that remain in the pan, which will thicken the sauce slightly.
Add chicken stock (or water) and capers. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add chicken back into sauce and heat through. BE SURE NOT TO OVERCOOK THE CHICKEN AT THIS POINT, but make ensure it is cooked completely through.
Serve over orzo, rice or egg noodles.
TIME-SAVING TIP: Slice chicken breasts in half and pound between two pieces of plastic wrap until thin. Stack them with parchment paper in between each piece of meat. Place stack of chicken in a zip-top bag and lay FLAT in freezer. When ready to use, remove as many pieces of chicken as needed, place in a zip-top bag and thaw in a bowl of water (approx. 15 minutes).