Chicken with Lemons and Capers

When it comes to posting new recipes, I have a "policy" that I strictly adhere to: Not before I've prepared a recipe at least three times, including at least once for friends, it's going to appear in my "Cyber Kitchen" - everybody's approving nod provided. This week, I'm allowing myself to make an exception and stray from this rule. I found the "Chicken with Lemons and Capers" featured in a cooking magazine sample which I received just this past week (and had never even asked for...). I tried it for dinner tonight and if you - like me - love chicken, lemons, and capers, it'll end up be your "favorite recipe in the whole world" as well! ;-)

Ingredients (to serve 4):

2 large lemons
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small shallot, minced or 1 small garlic glove, minced
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons small capers, drained
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

Tip: If you would like to save some work and time, look out for chicken cutlets in your grocer's poultry aisle. Purchase eight of them, each between 3/8 and 1/2 inch thick.

Preparation (about 35 minutes):

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof plate on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Halve one lemon lengthwise. Trim ends from one half and cut crosswise into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thin; set aside. Squeeze juice from the remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup juice; reserve.

3. Place each chicken breast cutlet smooth-side up on a cutting board. Holding one hand on top of the chicken breast, carefully slice it in half horizontally to yield two cutlets, each between 3/8 and 1/2 inch thick.

4. Sprinkle both sides of cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Measure flour into shallow dish. Working one cutlet at a time, coat with flour, and shake to remove excess.

5. Heat heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes; add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl pan to coat. Lay half of chicken pieces in skillet. Sauté cutlets, without moving them, until lightly browned on first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn cutlets and cook until second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and transfer cutlets to plate in oven. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet and heat until shimmering. Add remaining chicken pieces and repeat.

6. Add shallot or garlic to now-empty skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds for shallots or 10 seconds for garlic. Add stock or broth and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and scrape skillet bottom with wooden spoon or spatula to loosen browned bits. Simmer until liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice to taste - anywhere between one third and all of it - and capers and simmer until sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter until melted and sauce thickens; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

Serve with long grain and wild rice timbale and steamed broccoli or spinach - and yes, the lemon slices are edible ... enjoy!