LEMON CREAM CHICKEN (end of citrus season)

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make the chicken ahead and then bake it in the               creamy lemon sauce.  It’s yummy!

In Arizona we have about 3 months of fabulous citrus.  You can literally drive down wide streets and stop along an orange grove and pick all kinds of citrus.  I am always looking for  lemon dishes to use especially.  I freeze lemon or lime juice in ice cube trays.  Each cube equals 2 tbs. juice.  I have lemon juice all year!

CREAMY LEMON CHICKEN

4-6 chicken breasts or thighs.  A word here about chicken:  I always use thighs with the bone in, because it’s our preference.  The bone adds more flavor, and the dark meat is moister.  However, many of you prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  FINE!  Do your own thing, but always remember when you make the finished product that boneless skinless thin chicken has a LESS cooking time.  The bones and the extra meat and dark meat in general are going to take longer.  Always add a little time for dark meat (10 or 15 minutes), or better yet, check the meat with a meat thermometer.

Method:  Do your 3 step “dredging” process:  get out 3 bowls, fill one with about 1/2 cup seasoned flour. (1 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder and any other seasoning you like–paprika is nice.)   Bowl #2:  1 or 2 beaten eggs with about 1/4 cup water beaten in.  Bowl #3:  seasoned Bread crumbs.  I LOVE PANKO! Or my homemade from leftover French bread.  Just be sure to season that too.  I usually add some grated parmesan cheese to it (1/4 cup) because I just can’t resist.

Dip each chicken piece in flour first, egg second, and crumbs last.  Set aside and get a skillet ready with some hot oil.  (I took some cooking classes at Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale and the chefs there told me they never use any oil to cook with except an equal mix of canola or vegetable oil and “middle of the road” olive oil***). If it’s good enough for Cordon Bleu……I’ve been using that for over 5 years now.

TIDBITS ABOUT OLIVE OIL***I get Trader Joe’s or Costco store brands.  I think my love affair with Olive Oil is over.  I spent hundreds on expensive oils, including getting a shipment of 12 bottles from Tuscany at approximately $45 per bottle.  I gave it away to people and then found out it has a shelf life of just a couple of months, AND it tasted like grass.  By it’s nature, people won’t use it because it’s so expensive, so it tends to get rancid.   ALSO:  the one thing I was taught by the chefs and have said over and over is that Extra Virgin Olive oil is NOT for cooking with heat.  It is for drizzling, sauces, dressings, etc.  I can never remember a single time in 50 years that I have cooked for anyone and they commented on how delicious the olive oil I cooked in was.  Have you?  On the other hand, dipping bread in seasoned olive oil is wonderful!

Brown chicken pieces in hot oil about 5 minutes on each side.  (thin chicken breasts about 3 minutes each side).  Set aside and  At this point you can cool them, cover them and put in fridge till ready to finish them in the sauce.  (You will be baking them for 30-35 minutes so they do not have to be completely DONE).  However, if you are serving them right away, just proceed with making the sauce.

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (if you can get Meyer, do it!)

1/2 cup strong chicken bouillon

1/2 cup heavy cream or Crema or sour cream

In the chicken skillet drippings, put 2 Tbs. all purpose flour with a couple of tablespoons of butter and make a “roux”–which is simply a thick paste.  Flour or NO flour?  up to you, but the sauce thickness will be different***GLUTEN FREE can leave out the flour or use your own GF flours.  But if you decide to leave out the flour, just  cook this sauce a little longer it will reduce a little.  And without the flour you obviously get a juicier finished product which  just isn’t that bad……ask me how I know!…..its wonderful poured over rice or potatoes.        BIG NOTE:  To make this dish truly gluten free, use gluten free bread crumbs OR smashed pork rinds.  See my instagram askmehowiknowcb to see about the covering for the chicken crust.

 

Add the chicken broth first, cook down a little.  OPTIONAL:  2 or 3 Tbs. dry sherry or white wine.  Add this with the broth and cook about 5 minutes.  Add lemon juice, simmer at a brisk boil 2 or 3 more minutes.  Last, add the cream slowly. Taste the sauce.  At this point you may need to add a little more bouillon or chicken base.  Just a teaspoon at a time till you like the flavor!!  (it gets salty!).  Whisk in and turn off fire.  In a large baking dish place chicken and pour sauce over.  Lemon zest is nice on top of this.  Bake at 350 about 30-35 minutes or till lightly browned.

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remember these?  always have some on hand.  Especially chicken flavor!

 

This is a wonderful dinner party dish.  Ask me how I know….And see below for a couple of nice sides for the party

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This sheet pan potato/squash/onion dish is great on the side.  People really like to pick their own.  See “side dishes” in this blog for that recipe!
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A beautiful salad on the side is enough.  Leave out the bacon for Vegetarians like Steven.  I love this presentation as it is like it’s own salad bar.  I serve 2 or 3 dressings on the side.

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