Tonight, I walked into the living room where my mom and dad were watching TV…and I said…”What’s for dinner?” They stared at me a minute and both shrugged. So, I rolled up my sleeves, stomped resolutely to the freezer and rooted around, dragging out some chicken breasts. “Hmm,” I pondered, as I stood there in my bathrobe, “What can I do with these? And this was the end result of me standing at the stove in a white bathrobe, with my cowboy boots on ’cause I broke a glass pan lid in the process of trying to clean up the kitchen and didn’t bring any other shoes home with me from school…
2 Chicken breasts, butterflied
Salt and pepper
A couple tablespoons of butter
White wine, dry
Lemon, 1/2 sliced, 1/2 juiced
Capers, to taste
Green onions, about 1 1/2, sliced
Bust out the chicken breasts and thaw, if necessary. Butterfly them. I pounded mine flat because this was the first time I’d butterflied anything and they were rather uneven in thickness. I used the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Chicken breasts can be rather delicate compared to, say, a tough cut of beef, and the diamond-shaped, sharp, business end of the tenderizer would tear the breasts to shreds. So, place the butterflied breasts between two sheets of wax paper or wrap them loosely in plastic wrap. Either way, you want something between the meat and the counter/tabletop and the meat and the tenderizer. For one major reason. It saves on mess. You won’t be cleaning little bits of meat out of your tenderizer and you won’t have to mop up all the juices off of your work surface. Although I’d suggest cleaning that work surface as soon as you’re through. Handling raw meat always calls for lotsa hand-washing and care to avoid possible contamination and spread of germs.
Anyway! As you’re pounding away, have some oil and about a tablespoon of butter heating on the stove. I wanted those breasts about a half an inch thick, but you do whatever floats your boat. When they’re all of uniform thickness, you can salt and pepper both sides and then dredge in a small amount of flour. My mother suggested seasoning the flour and then dredging them, but that seems a little wasteful and silly to me…Plus, I want the flavor of the salt on the actual meat, not on the thin layer of flour. Once you smell the butter…And you should be able to smell it. I love the scent of butter warming and browning… 🙂 You’ll set the breasts into the pan, fry them up till they brown nicely, about 2-3 minutes per side, on high heat. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan.
The recipe called for about a 1/4 cup of chicken stock for deglazing, but I was definitely achin’ for more of this sauce to smother over my chicken, so I might up the amount of stock, wine, and lemon juice, in order to end up with a bit more sauce. Add in the stock, wine, lemon juice, capers, and green onions. The original recipe doesn’t call for green onions, but…I had them on hand and I happen to looove onions, so…there you have it 🙂 That’s what cooking’s all about, darnit! Improvisation! Also, I despise capers. So I only used about a teaspoon of capers and crushed them into an unrecognizable mess within the sauce, so that I could have a hint of their full, rich flavor, without having to bite into them, which is just overwhelming for me. Deglaze the pan in the stock, wine, and lemon juice mixture (about 2 parts stock and one part each wine and lemon juice), getting up those good, crispy bits left behind by the chicken. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes and reduce, concentrating the flavors. I also seasoned the sauce with a bit of chopped parsley.
Since the recipe called for chicken stock anyway, I also cooked a pot of rice in some chicken broth and used a bit of the pre-made broth as the stock in my sauce 😉 Add a bit of extra chicken flavor to the dish and makes for a nice, toasty bed of rice for the finished product. Plate the chicken atop the rice and pour the delicious sauce over everything. If you had a fresh lemon available (I didn’t, I used bottled lemon juice), slice some thin pieces for garnish, along with a bit of parsley. Dig in!