So many of our dinners come about simply because of grocery items that have been lingering too long in my refrigerator and need using before they go bad. Such was the case here, where I had some olives nearing their toss out point, and a bag of lemons that I’d never get through unless I whipped up lemon meringue pies for the whole neighborhood. Now, I do cook for my neighbors from time to time but in this case, I wanted something savory and less caloric for dinner, and something that included those lemons and olives.
This recipe, adapted from one I found in Food and Wine’s website, by Lidia Bastianich, fit the bill perfectly. I halved the amount of chicken, to serve only two people, but since I wanted more sauce, I kept the proportions for the sauce ingredients as if I were preparing the recipe with a larger amount of chicken. To see the original recipe, click here.
The original recipe asks you to drizzle the lemon slices with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 375 degrees, but to get that browned edge, I found that broiling them works best. Keep a close watch on them so they don’t burn. I didn’t bother with the salt, pepper or olive oil either, because there is plenty of seasoning in the recipe itself.
DO NOT buy thin chicken breast slices for this recipe. They’ll cook too quickly and dry out. Buy a boneless chicken breast. It will be too lumpy and uneven to cook as is, so you’ll need to slice through the thickest part to open it up and make it flatter, pounding a bit with a food mallet (the flat side, not the spiky side). Season with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour.
Cook the chicken pieces in olive oil at high heat for a few minutes until they’re golden, flipping once, to brown the other side.
Make the sauce while the chicken is in the pan, adding the chicken broth, olives, capers, the lemon slices and the rest of the ingredients.
The original recipe doesn’t call for it, but I added some lemon juice at the end as well, to give it a really fresh taste, and increase the amount of sauce.
It’s a dish that’s fairly easy to prepare and good enough to impress company too.
When you slice into it, the meat is still juicy and tender, and picks up all those flavors that blend so well together. This was a recipe I’ll be making again and again, and next time I won’t wait until I have leftover olives and lemons sitting around.
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- 1 lemon, sliced ¼-inch thick
- Two 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
- ¼ cup pitted olives, sliced (I used Kalamata olives, but you could use green olives as well)
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- ¾ cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small dice
- 1 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer.
- Broil for about five minutes, keeping a close eye on the lemons so they don't burn.
- Remove from the broiler when the lemons begin to brown around the edges.
- In a deep medium skillet, heat ¼ cup of oil.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with the flour, shaking off the excess.
- Cook the chicken over high heat, turning once, until golden, about 6 minutes.
- Add the olives, capers and stock and bring to a boil.
- Cook over high heat until the stock is reduced by about two-thirds, about 5 minutes.
- Add the roasted lemons, the lemon juice, butter and parsley, season with salt and pepper and simmer just until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute.
- Transfer the chicken to plates and spoon the sauce on top.