This quick and easy Charred Lemon Chicken starts with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and comes together quickly completely on the stove-top (no oven needed!).
My freezer is always full of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Is yours? I pick them up when they are on sale and tuck them away. Inevitably though, I will find myself staring in to the freezer and wondering what I will make with them!
So in my newsletter earlier this month, I promised some delicious and easy boneless chicken breast recipes to help us all out with this constant dilemma. (You are subscribed to my mailing list, aren't you?! :) I started out with the 15 Minute Spicy Kung Pao Chicken Skillet. This second one is for all the lemon chicken lovers and it's a twist on the usual, using charred lemons. Charring the lemon quickly in a hot skillet really intensified the lemon flavour in this dish. And there's capers too, for a bit of tangy bite. And it's ready in less than 30 minutes!
Cook's Notes for Charred Lemon Chicken
The sauce for this dish as written is not super thick, which is perfect for serving over pasta or rice, so the sauce with migrate to flavour underneath. If you aren't serving over or if you just want a thicker sauce to coat the chicken, simply add a bit more flour (2-3 tsp. total).
Capers are a lovely addition to lemon chicken, but not a deal-breaker if you don't have any on hand. Simply omit.
What wine to use for lemon chicken? Any decent dry white wine will work perfectly for lemon chicken. No need to buy a special bottle, just use any one you enjoy drinking.
Substitute for wine in lemon chicken If you don't have or want to use wine in this recipe, you could easily substitute it with white grape juice or simply use additional chicken stock. Since there is a lot of acidity in the dish already, with the lemons, adding additional acidity isn't necessary.
What vegetable to serve with lemon chicken? I love something green with lemon chicken - asparagus, broccoli, broccolini are all great. Quick sauteed greens like spinach, kale or chard would also be nice.
What to serve with lemon chicken? Lemon chicken is perfect paired with pasta. Angelhair spaghetti pasta makes an elegant dish. White rice is also a good choice. If you're avoiding carbs, try cauliflower rice!
Charred Lemon Chicken
- 2 small lemons (cut into thin rounds)
- 1 1/2 tsp white sugar
- 4 cloves garlic (halved)
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut in half lengthwise)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (DIVIDED)
- 1 tsp shallot (minced or onion)
- 1/2 tsp garlic (minced)
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (or additional 1/2 cup chicken stock)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp capers
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)
- In a medium bowl, add lemon slices and garlic halves. Sprinkle with sugar. Set aside.
- Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add chicken to pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate.
- Add a splash more oil to the pan if it is dry. Add lemon slice mixture to the pan (keeping bowl handy) and cook, turning occasionally, for about 1 minute or until lemon slices are lightly browned. Return lemon mixture to the bowl.
- Wipe pan with paper towel and heat over medium heat. Melt 1 1/2 tsp of butter in the pan, then add shallot, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic and thyme sprig. Cook for 30 seconds or so, then add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes or until liquid almost completely evaporates. Add chicken stock, and flour to the pan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 2/3 cup.
- Remove pan from heat; discard thyme sprig. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and capers, stirring until butter melts. Taste sauce and add additional salt and pepper, as needed. Return chicken and any juices to pan and re-warm in sauce, turning to coat with sauce. Top chicken with lemon mixture and allow to warm with chicken slightly before serving. Garnish with parsley.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light