Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chicken Piccata

Each time I make this, it turns out a bit different. Sometimes the sauce is thinner and other times, like tonight, it turns out thick. What can ya do? The prep time seems to take longer than the actual cook time. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chicken (The “real” recipe says 4 skinless/boneless breast halves. I prefer to pick up a pack of chicken tenders – already thin, and easier to control the portion that way.)
  • Butter (About 3 tablespoons, give or take. Make sure it’s room temperature – don’t try to shortcut this by softening it in the microwave. Just my preference.)
  • Flour (Measurements to come.)
  • Olive oil (2-4 tablespoons.)
  • Lemon juice, fresh squeezed. Use that crap that comes in the plastic faux lemon and I will never speak to you again. (Now, I’m all for lemon – during the summer I would eat one, or maybe 3, lemons per day. Loves me some lemon! That being said, the recipe calls for 1/4 cup but I would cut down on this and use more wine, or more broth.)
  • Chicken broth. (Approximately 1/4 cup, depending on if you use this to cut the lemon with.)
  • WINE! Dry and white. (About 1/3 cup, but I always wind up using more. My preference is sauvignon blanc. Use your favourite, just make sure it’s dry.) Buy two bottles – one for cooking, and one for drinking.
  • Capers (drained) and parsley (1/4 of each. Typically I’ll use mostly fresh parsley and some dried, but use what you have.)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste. (I prefer kosher or sea salt. And some white pepper mixed with the black.)

Typically this is served over angel hair pasta, but tonight I used jasmine rice. Choose whatever side you prefer.

1) In a small bowl, take 1 tablespoon of the (room temperature!) butter and mix it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour. Mix together until it’s smooth. Set aside.

2) Flour the chicken. (Dump some flour in a deep plate or shallow pan.) If you use breast halves, you’ll want to pound them down. I hate to beat my meat (no comments, Peanut Gallery!) which is why I use the already semi-thin tenders. You can either dust the chicken with salt and pepper before drenching in the flour, or you can do what I do – mix the salt and pepper in with the flour. Set aside. Wash the caked flour off your hands. (This is the part I hate – icky chicken and flour under my nails. Bleh.)

3) Take a drink. You may drink the wine, I’ll stick with beer.

4) Start with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dump into the pan and heat (hot, but not smoking.)

5) Add chicken and cook until golden-ish. About 3-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Salmonella is BAD! Depending on your pan size, and amount of chicken, this may have to happen in two batches. If you have to cook the chicken in more than one fell swoop, this is when the extra oil comes in. Add a touch more to the pan, and cook away. Set cooked chicken on a plate and tent with foil.

6) In the same pan, add the wine, broth, and lemon to boil. (Heat is about medium-high, to medium.)

7) After the wine/broth/lemon is boiling, stir in the butter/flour mixture from earlier. Boil. (This may take a bit of whisking to get it to blend together. Be patient. It will come.)

8) Once the butter/flour is introduced, throw in the capers, parsley, and last 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir. Take a taste. If you want to add more salt or pepper, do so. If you want to add more wine, broth, or lemon juice, now is the time to do so (if the sauce is too thick, definitely add more liquid).

9) Place pasta or rice on a plate. Put chicken over that. Over THAT, spoon some sauce. Viola!

10) Crack open the wine (or beer, or water, or what-have-you) and enjoy over some candlelight. Or pop in a movie and curl up on the couch. Or … open up some Scottish Sock Puppet youtube clips and enjoy.

This one is a hit at my house. Unfortunately, these guys get nothing. NOTHING! (Okay, they get some kibble. And love. Lots of love. But that’s it.)

Whaddya mean I don't get the leftovers?!

This is my patented stink-eye. When asked why he was giving the stink-eye, Senor BooBoo was quoted as saying, "You get this because you are not sharing the chicky-chicky with me. I might just eat your head."

Teddy says, "Phbtphbt!"

I think Argus is contemplating peeing on my head. It was later found out that he did, indeed, say, "If I don't get some chicken love, I will pee on your pillow. Don't push me, woman!"

Asmo was unavailable for comment at this time, but his agent said that he would get back to me. Riiiiiiiight.

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