fat free opinions on a food centric life

Chicken in Lemon-Parsley Sauce

If you’ve been scouring this little corner of the web, you’ve probably figured out I have a problem with cooking magazines.  And I’ve been trying to kick that habit to help save a few trees, but I just can’t seem to actually cut the cord.  Sunset has finally had me submit a “No” sticker on yet another “You REALLY don’t want our magazine any more?” envelope.  Gourmet has thrown me in their inactive file, but they’re not serious because I can see through the window on the envelope that they have yet a new low, low offer to hook me up again.  I’m tempted because I actually read Gourmet and like it — unlike the waves of stodgy folk who have recently begun to bash the editor for ruining the magazine (read:  update it for people younger than those who are complaining).  Cook’s has been gone for almost a year now.  Food & Wine is ready to run out.  Living has dwindled to nothing.  And Bon Appetit?  Susan Fairchild, the editor, completely gave it a makeover so I’m afraid I’m not going to resist renewing my subscription.  But Saveur?  I have to keep it.   It’s truly one of the most unusual food magazines around, and I love it.  Yes I save all the issues.  Yes, I tag them, and reuse them, and keep them perfectly stacked by date close to my kitchen.

Now that I’ve confirmed your thinking, let’s move along.  I have a friend who isn’t as passionate about food as I am.  She’s intelligent, opinionated, and has the most dry sense of humor I’ve come across.  She recently left a comment on my Pastel de Cuatro Leches post about putting something together that doesn’t have so many steps.  As a result, I’ve chosen a recipe from the April 2006 issue of Saveur from the superb article, “Vive le Restaurant” by James Villas about Manhattan’s Le Veau D’Or, one of the last great hold outs of French cuisine.

Cooper, this one’s for you.  I promise it is very easy, and will garner sighs of satisfaction when eaten.  You will love it.  Invite a few close friends to dinner, put them to work, drink plenty of wine, and I guarantee you’ll remember the food and the night.

Of course, I have yet again taken liberties with a recipe.  The original recipe, Escalopines de Veau or Veal Scallops with Lemon-Parsley Sauce sounds perfectly wonderful.  In fact, when I actually plan to make this again (which my husband and son have threatened me to promise to do) I will purchase veal.  However, I had some beautiful chicken breasts in the freezer and knew they would be simply perfect for this recipe.  I know you’ll agree.

Chicken in Lemon-Parsley Sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. flour
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 c. vegetable stock (use pre-made or bouillion like I did…)
14 T cold butter, cut into cubes
1-1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T fresh parsley, chopped

Ahead of time, decide if you’re going to get fancy with this dish.  In other words, you may consider cutting the chicken breasts into smaller pieces — smaller round pieces that you cut with a sharp cookie cutter.  I didn’t do this, because I’m more of a chicken fried steak kind of person and just let the chicken decide which shape it wants to be. 

Make the Chicken:

  1. One at a time, place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Using a meat mallet or, if you’re me, a rolling pin, pound the meat until it is about 1/2″ thick.  If you can, 1/4″ is even better.  As each piece is finished, remove it to a plate and cover it with plastic.
  2. Heat the oven to 200 degrees F.  Pour the flour onto a plate and set aside.  Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour on both sides, shaking the excess back onto the plate.  Do not stack the chicken as you finish.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat and saute chicken until golden brown on each side.  The time will differ depending on how thin your chicken is.  The chicken will finish in the oven, so it’s better not to over do it.
  4. Transfer each piece onto a baking pan, and if possible, fitted with a rack.  I used a cooling rack set on the pan.  Keep the chicken warm while you make the sauce.

Make the Sauce:

  1. Using the same skillet you sauteed the chicken in, pour the veggie stock in and stir, scraping up the brown bits left in the pan.  Cook over med-high heat and reduce until there is about 1 cup of liquid left.  This takes about 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the small cubes of butter (I know there are a lot…) a few at a time, stirring until each is melted before adding more.
  3. Add the lemon juice, taste the sauce, and add more salt and pepper to your liking.  Cook until slightly thickened.
  4. Add the parsley and stir.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and return it to the skillet with the sauce.  Cook gently for about 5 minutes

Serve:

  1. Divide chicken and sauce between four plates and serve.
  2. Dig in and swoon.  Seriously.

Notes:  I served this with some steamed carrots seasoned with fleur de sel, pepper and tossed in a bit of olive oil.  They were lovely.  This recipe is so easy considering the amazing results.  It is truly wonderful.  I wish there was less butter in it, though, and will cut it in half the next time I make it, but I just had to try it this way once.

Enjoy!