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Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

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Serves 2 to 4.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a recipe sent by a chef.

As I said above, the idea for this recipe was sent to me by a chef. He said he made it everyday in his restaurant. The original idea was simpler, as it needs to be. Restaurants are concerned with turnaround, feeding people and clearing tables quickly to seat more customers. I elaborated on the original a bit for a more gourmet finished dish.

Ingredients:

About 1 tablespoon pure (not extra virgin) olive oil
About 1 tablespoon butter, preferably clarified
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (large ones will feed 4, small ones will feed 2)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 to 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
¼ cup (60ml) dry white wine or vermouth
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup (120ml) heavy cream

For Sides, I chose to steam some asparagus and I cooked some rice, to which I added some browned pearl onions.

Directions:

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken lightly on both sides and then transfer to a plate and set aside.

Drain excess oil from the skillet, but leave the fond (the brown bits) in the pan. Add the minced garlic and cook a few seconds. Then add the wine, thyme, and lemon juice to the pan. Return the chicken to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of at least 155°F (68°C). Then transfer the chicken to a clean plate and cover with foil. The heat along the outside of the chicken will migrate inward, bringing the final temperature to 165°F (74°C), which is the USDA recommended safe serving temperature for chicken.

Meanwhile, simmer the liquid in the skillet to reduce it until most has evaporated. Add the cream and lemon zest. Combine. It will begin to thicken immediately as the acid from the lemon juice acts upon the cream. Keep hot, but do not boil. Adjust for salt, if necessary.

Plate the chicken and spoon plenty of sauce on top. Add your favorite vegetable side dishes and serve. Some vegetables, such as asparagus, can be garnished with sauce as well.