Chicken in Lemon-Herb Sauce

04

 

I have a new crush, and her name is Lidia Bastianich.

I’ve known about Lidia for a while. I’ve made a bunch of her recipes, though I’ve somehow only managed to blog one. They’re always great. Always. You look at the ingredient list and nothing jumps out at you and says, “this super terrific and rarely-used ingredient will make your meal shine!” Instead, it’s just simple, normal ingredients. And she somehow manages to make them so harmonious and delightful.

We’ve had this meal at least 3 or 4 times. Every time, I ask myself why I’m making it on a Saturday because it’s so quick and easy (those types of meals tend to be reserved for weeknights). It just…I don’t know, seems like a weekend meal? The last time I made this (the photographs in this post), I didn’t even bother pounding and rolling chicken breasts. Tom had accidentally bought tenderloins, so I basically just sandwiched the breadcrumb filling between two, which made the meal even quicker, albeit not as pretty. There is no searing of the chicken before baking it, which is a good thing because me + stuffed/rolled chicken + browning =  a disaster for me (chicken falling apart in the pan as I try to flip it and all that). I’m normally against 100% baked chicken, but it works well in this case (thanks to the breadcrumbs, no doubt).

We’ve had this with baked brown rice pilaf and pasta, but I think my favorite non-vegetable side has been mashed cannellini beans. Once, I assumed parmesan cheese went into the breadcrumb mixture and only realized too late it did not. But cheese is never a bad thing, so clearly that adaptation was juuuust fine and I’m including it as an option below.

Chicken in Lemon-Herb Sauce

  • 15 minutes
  • 20 minutes
  • 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken breasts (about 3-4 large breasts)
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
  • 1.5 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 Tbsp. butter

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 475º.
  2. Cut each chicken breast crosswise into two pieces. Place each piece one-by-one under a sheet of plastic wrap and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until 1/3" thick.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, stir the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, parsley, oregano, cheese (if using) and salt to taste until blended. Divide the mixture into two, setting half aside. Spread the other half of the mixture evenly across the each flattened piece of chicken, and then roll the chicken up, using twine or a toothpick to secure it.
  4. Place the chicken in a skillet or baking dish, preferably something that is flame-proof and can be used on the stove top later on.
  5. Mix together the wine, broth, lemon juice, remaining tablespoon of oil, and crushed red pepper together (I use a mixing cup for the whole thing; no need to dirty two things!). Pour the mixture over the chicken breasts, and then scatter the smashed garlic around. Place the pan in the oven; bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Top the chicken with the remaining breadcrumb mixture (don't worry if some breadcrumbs make it into the sauce, that's a good thing because it will thicken the sauce) and return to the oven for another 5 minutes, until breadcrumb topping is golden brown.
  7. Remove the chicken from the pan and arrange on a serving plate(s), taking out the toothpicks. Place the pan with the liquid on the stove (or transfer the pan juices to a flame-proof skillet, if not already in one) over medium-high heat. Boil until slightly reduced and lightly thickened. Turn off heat and whisk in butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove the garlic. Pour the mixture around the chicken and serve.
Lightly adapted from Lidia Bastianich