TBT: Lemon Tree Chicken

20 Mar

lemon logoThis week’s TBT post is a recipe from my mom. I was starting out cooking on my own in college, and this delightful, springy, and super-simple chicken recipe was in the stack of recipes she gave me. I made this one night with my friend Olivia, with lemon ricotta fritters for dessert. Ricotta can often be bland, but frying and serving it with blackberry jam (also courtesy of Margaret Werner), is the way to go. At the time, I had no idea how to deep-fry food. We dumped a stupid amount of olive oil into a stock pot, turned up the heat, and waited. And waited. There was no chance we’d stick our fingers in hot oil to check for temperature, so we waited some more. The shimmering surface was a good visual cue, so I plopped in the first lump of ricotta, which practically turned to ash before my eyes. The fritter would have felt at home in the last days of Sodom. Or Pompeii. Smoke started rising and the fritters bounced and fought their way through the hot oil. The sputtering drops shooting out of the stock pot made the volcano comparison complete. Olivia’s face became the color of the cream sauce. This was it. Our friends in Atlanta seeing Usher would not be able to call us from the concert. We were going up in flames.

Olivia threw open her windows, I cleaned the counter, and we tried the fritters again. While I haven’t gone back to make the fritters, the chicken’s a recipe for repeating. While my mom might be displeased at my frying attempts (now I know olive oil has a smoking point of 405°F and is one of the least stable oils to use for frying), she’d be proud of the lemon tree chicken.

4 whole chicken breasts, diced into small chunks
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cups flour
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 Tbsps lemon juice
2 Tbsps dry white wine
1/2 cup cream
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Preheat broiler. In a large plastic bag, put salt, pepper, and flour. Add chicken and distribute flour on all sides.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken. Remove from pan.

Add lemon zest, juice, and wine to skillet and bring to a boil. Return chicken to pan.

Cover this mixture, turn heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes. Add cream into wine mixture and cook until bubbly, about 1 minute.

Arrange chicken in a 9×13 pan and sprinkle with Swiss cheese. Broil pan until cheese begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Top with additional lemon zest and chopped parsley. Serve.

Throwback tune:

Graphic by Tommy Werner

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