Back to Basics…Actually, the title of this post is misleading because it implies that I started with the basics, which is far from the truth. I am convinced that a person’s palate drives them to cook, which explains why I began my kitchen escapades with all varieties of ethnic cuisine. I experimented with curry, paprika and cumin long before I ever put a casserole in the oven. But now my children’s developing taste buds have me circling back to discover what I’ve missed and I am pleasantly surprised by the basics.
This past week I made Lemon Chicken Breasts adapted from Barefoot Contessa “How Easy Is That?” and my kids could not get enough. They asked for more of the lemony sauce to pour over their sliced chicken and each had second and third helpings. Not usually the case with my children who are only finishing what’s on their plates to get the reward of dessert. I know, I know I need to work on that.
I served the chicken with Mashed Roasted Cauliflower and a simple green salad. The kids also asked for the lemon sauce to be spooned over their cauliflower mash and all of a sudden the invisible but oh so defining “plate dividers” came tumbling down and we were having an actual adult meal. Small victories.
So here is yet another reliably delicious recipe from our beloved Ina Garten. I adapted it in that the original recipe called for skin-on chicken breasts (not what I generally have on hand) so I just used skinless breasts and cooked them at the bottom range of the cooking time knowing that there wouldn’t be the fat to keep the breasts moist. I also substituted dried thyme for fresh only because that’s what I had. Capers would be an excellent addition to this recipe but I guess that would make it a more exotic piccata…there I go again. Enjoy!
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 3 Tbls minced garlic cloves (approximately 9 cloves)
- 1/3 c dry white wine
- 1 Tbls grated lemon zest (from 1-2 lemons)
- 2 Tbls freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 of the lemons, the other will be cut into wedges)
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 oz each)
- Preheat over to 400F.
- Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic and cook for just 1 minute but don't allow the garlic to brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 tsp salt and pour into a 9 x 12 baking dish.
- Pat the chicken dry and place them in the baking dish over the sauce. Brush the breasts generously with the olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon into 8 wedges and tuck them among the pieces of chicken.
- Bake for 30 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts, until the chicken is done. To brown the breasts slightly broil for several minutes at the end of baking, being careful not to overcook. Remove from the oven, tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot with the pan juices.