Lemon chicken is a simple dish that is often flavorful but it can be difficult to cook without over-drying because it lacks a sauce. Although the dish is high in protein and low in calories, it won’t impress guests at your next dinner party or special occasion.
The addition of a dredging process, which is the process of lightly coating the outside of the chicken with flour before the cooking process, combined with butter and lemon juice adds a creamy, lemon sauce. Don’t skip the dredging step as the flour helps to add creaminess and thickness to the sauce.
The chicken needs to be cooked over medium-heat to avoid creating a chewy result; don’t be tempted to increase the temperature to speed up the cooking time. The chicken will be cooked before you begin to make the sauce in the same pan. It’s important to follow a couple of these simple steps to keep from drying out the chicken.
Chicken tenderloins or breasts that are pounded into thinner pieces, shortens the amount of time the meat spends sautéing. Full breasts are only ideal for baking, as a lower temperature and slow cook time creates a juicy result. Serve the chicken atop pasta to create an Italian-style dish or serve beside rice and roasted vegetables.
- 6 boneless chicken breasts or about 2 lbs. of chicken tenderloins
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 lemon
- Lemon pepper
- 1 stick of butter
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
Put the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound the breasts until they are 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick. Omit these steps if you are using tenderloins.
Combine the flour and salt in a shallow dish. Take each piece of chicken and dredge each piece by coating both sides of the chicken with flour. Sprinkle each coated piece with salt and lemon pepper to taste. To increase the lemon flavor, zest the rind of one lemon and sprinkle the desired amount over the surface.
Heat the butter in a large skillet. When the butter has almost melted completely, arrange the chicken in a single layer in the pan. Sauté the chicken for five minutes on both sides or until it is lightly browned.
Keep the chicken in the pan as you add the lemon juice. Turn up the heat to deglaze the pan. This technique will remove the extra browned bits from the sides of the pan to help make a sauce. Scrape the sides with a spatula to help remove stubborn pieces, while swirling the juices in the pan.
Remove the chicken from the pan after two minutes, and cook the sauce for about two minutes more over low heat until the sauce has slightly thickened. Remove the pan from the heat. Set the chicken on top of cooked pasta or beside rice and vegetables, and pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle the dish with parsley as a garnish. Add grated parmesan to the top of the pasta dish, if desired.