Chicken Piccata is one of those recipes that is basically the same, yet different wherever you go. What do I mean by that? It has basic ingredients: boneless chicken breast, lemon juice, chicken broth, garlic, capers. It then has variations: dry white wine, sweet white wine, mushrooms, red chili pepper flakes, or even pickle relish. It can be cooked stove top or in the oven and makes an elegant meal served with rice or pasta, with a vegetable or salad.
This is my version, something I’ve modified from my mother’s original. It’s one of my favorite dishes to make because it is elegant and delicious, and can be made in advance if you want to serve it for company, so that you can enjoy the meal with the company instead of hiding out in the kitchen.
INGREDIENTS: Serves 8
- 4 boneless breast, cut in half and pounded thin OR 2# approx. thin sliced chicken breast
- 1/4 C diced shallots (if you don’t have shallot, red onion is a good substitute)
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 C capers, drained
- 4 C mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed and sliced
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 C flour
- 2/3C dry white wine
- 3/4C chicken broth
- 1/2 C lemon juice
- Salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large frypan, heat 2 tbsp. of butter and oil. Dredge the chicken lightly in the flour and season with salt and pepper. Then, in batches, cook the chicken until it is lightly browned on each side, just 2 or 3 minutes. Lay the chicken out into a 11 x 13″ casserole dish and set it aside.
In the same pan, add the other 2 tbsp. of butter, and saute the shallots, garlic and red pepperflakes for just a minute or two, until they are soft but not browned.
Next add the mushrooms to the pan and saute them. I usually add some salt and pepper now as well, but you can wait to do that after the sauce is completely made if you’d prefer. Now, Julia Child would tell you not to crowd the mushrooms, but we’re not trying to brown them, just to get them started cooking.
Now add the wine and let it cook for just a minute or two. At this point we’re going to add the chicken broth, lemon juice and capers and bring the mixture to a boil. We will let it simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. The only thickening agent I use is the flour on the chicken cutlets which will thicken the sauce very slightly.
If you like a thicker sauce, take another tablespoon of soft butter and blend it with 1 tbsp. of flour. Add this to your sauce now and let it cook until it thickens up.
Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover it tightly with foil and put it in the middle of your preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take the foil off, sprinkle 2 tbsp. parsley (fresh or dried both work) and put the dish back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so.
If you want to make this in advance for your family or for company, brown the chicken, make the sauce and put it together in your casserole. Then cover it with plastic wrap and foil and either refrigerate or freeze. When you are ready to heat it for serving, defrost it, then take it out of the fridge at least 45 minutes before heating it, to make sure your casserole doesn’t break. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap, recover it with foil and put it into your oven while it is cold. Heat it to 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove the foil for an additional 10 minutes.
Traditional Piccata does not have mushrooms, but we really like themd. I have also added frozen artichoke hearts to this dish for additional veggies and flavor. (Do not use artichoke hearts in oil. It will change the entire flavor or the dish.)