My husband calls this chicken ‘panna cotta’ by the way.
Chicken piccata happens to be a childhood favorite of mine; tender chicken simmered in white wine, lemons and capers. It requires little effort, and I usually have most of the ingredients on hand (i.e. the wine). This dish is very adaptable too- I’ve made it several different ways, including a version with mushrooms and beef stock. I also use half the amount of butter found in traditional recipes giving it a light and fresh update.
And I serve it over this-
Couscous was my original go-to, but the combination of cracked wheat (bulgur) and baby spinach is my new standby. To make it extra flavorful, I cook the grains in chicken stock. The residual heat wilts the greens making it the perfect bed for this juicy dish.
FYI- I’ve pretty much replaced couscous exclusively with this alternative grain. Although the texture is very similar, cracked wheat is packed with protein and fiber making it a healthier option. I use an instant kind which is conveniently ready 10 minutes.
If your ingredients are well organized, this meal will only take about 30 minutes to get on the table. I somehow manage to destroy my kitchen whenever there is flour and chicken involved, but the mess is well worth it. It has become an easy, weeknight staple in our house.
Besides, those of us who can’t get the name right should have to do the dishes anyways, don’t you think? ;)
- To save on time, you can purchase thinly sliced chicken cutlets instead of regular sized chicken breasts. Or to save a couple bucks, simply slice them yourself.
- If you cannot find cracked wheat, try using couscous, rice or another grain of your choice.
- To make this gluten free, substitute with gluten free flour where applicable.
- 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thinly sliced chicken cutlets
- ½ c. flour + 1 heaped teaspoon, divided
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter, divided
- ¼ c. shallots, diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced or crushed with a garlic press
- ¼ c. white wine
- 1½ c. chicken stock or broth
- 2 lemons
- ¼ c. brined capers, drained
- salt + pepper
- lemon slices
- ¼ c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1½ c. instant bulgur wheat
- 1½ quarts chicken stock or broth
- 1 bag baby spinach
- Bring a large pot of chicken stock (or broth) to a boil. Cook the bulgur wheat according to the package instructions. Drain and return to the pot. Add 2 large handfuls of spinach and stir; the residual heat will gently wilt the greens. Add more spinach if desired. Cover until ready to serve.
- Add ½ c. flour to a shallow bowl; add the remaining 1 heaped teaspoon to a separate bowl to thicken the sauce.
- Butterfly the chicken by slicing each breast in half horizontally. Place in between 2 sheets of parchment paper (or plastic wrap). Gently pound with a meat mallet to about ½ inch thick. *If using thinly sliced chicken cutlets, skip this step.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Dredge the chicken in flour shaking off any excess.
- In a large skillet, warm the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Work in batches if necessary.
- Remove the chicken to a plate an cover with foil to keep warm.
- Add the shallots to the pan; if it seems a bit dry, add a splash of olive oil. Saute until soft, but not colored, about 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the liquid by half.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. To thicken the sauce, add a splash of stock to the reserved 1 teaspoon of flour and whisk well to dissolve any lumps. Add the flour mixture to the pan, whisking constantly until the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Reduce to a simmer and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Add the juice of half a lemon and sprinkle in the capers.
- Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan.
- Taste the sauce; season with extra lemon juice, salt and pepper if desired.
- To serve, transfer the chicken to a serving platter and top with the sauce.
- Garnish with lemon slices and fresh parsley.
- Serve with cracked wheat and spinach on the side.