This recipe for Lemon Caper Chicken is a delightful lemony dish that will please everyone. It’s important to pound the chicken thin, which allows the chicken to cook quickly in a skillet. With a dusting of flour and a dip into beaten egg the coating browns nicely and absorbs the delicious lemon sauce.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
coarsely ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup olive oil, or 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 thin lemon slices
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Place the chicken breasts on a large baking sheet and leave enough space between each one for expansion when pounding thinner. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and use the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy-bottomed skillet to pound to about a ¼-inch thickness. Set aside the plastic wrap and use to recover the chicken after seasoning.
This is a quick-cooking method and if the chicken breasts are large, pounding them to a 1/4-inch thickness is too much abuse and the meat loses its structure. For thick pieces, it’s best to cut them in half lengthwise first and then pound.
Lay the chicken lengthwise on a cutting board and place the knife at halfway down the side. Place your palm on top of the chicken and carefully pull the knife through the breast, as if you were going to butterfly it, but actually cut it through into two pieces. Separate and pound if necessary to 1/4-inch thickness.
Sprinkle both sides of each breast with salt and pepper, cover, and refrigerate for four hours or overnight. Seasoning the chicken in advance has similar effects to brining. It slightly denatures the protein and the salt is absorbed more deeply than salting and cooking immediately.
Crack the eggs into a container large enough to dip each chicken breast. Add a splash of water and beat until frothy.
Sprinkle the flour into a similar container.
Dip each breast in the flour, turning to completely coat the chicken, and gently shake off the excess. Next dip into the egg, hold for a few seconds over the egg pan to allow the egg wash to drain. Set the chicken back onto the baking sheet. Don’t worry about reusing the pan, the chicken still has to be cooked; no cross-contamination worries.
Heat the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken breasts in the hot pan, or cook in batches if he pan is too small to prevent crowding and steaming the chicken. Cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for another 2 minutes. Set the cooked chicken on a clean platter and, if cooking in batches, cook the last two breasts as instructed above.
Add the stock, lemon juice and slices, and capers to the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and dissolve any brown tidbits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute.
Note: If you use a non-stick skillet, you may not have any tidbits.
Place the chicken back into the pan, cook at a simmer for 2-3 minutes and return to the platter.
Whisk in the butter, taste sauce and adjust seasoning, then pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.
The lemon sauce is delicious with pasta or make our Israeli Couscous with Scallions and Peas as a side dish, which marries very well with the lemon sauce.
Gluten-free note: Use a gluten-free flour in lieu of all-purpose flour and follow the recipe as written.
Keywords: sautéed chicken, chicken entree, lemon sauce, lemon caper sauce, lemon chicken, dinner, chicken dinner dairy-free