chicken piccata

chicken piccata | The Clever Carrot

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-

warm cracked wheat + spinach | The Clever Carrotwarm cracked wheat + spinach | The Clever Carrot

Couscous was my original go-to, but the combination of cracked wheat or 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.

chicken piccata | The Clever Carrotchicken piccata | The Clever Carrot

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 flour and chicken is 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? ;)

Tips:

  • 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.
chicken piccata | The Clever Carrot

chicken piccata
 
Prep time
Cook time
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I grew up eating chicken piccata. It's a meal time tradition I'm happy to continue. Watching my mom make this over the years, I've learned that it's all about organization. Here's my tip: while the chicken browns, use that time to prep the rest of your ingredients. Dice the shallots, open the wine (have a glass!) and make the garnish- this way, you're one step ahead.
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Chicken
  • 1½ lbs. thinly sliced chicken cutlets
  • ½ c. flour + 1 teaspoon, divided
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp. butter, divided
  • ¼ c. shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or crushed with a garlic press
  • ¼ c. white wine
  • 1½ c. low- sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp. brined capers, rinsed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Garnish
  • lemon slices
  • 3 tbsp. roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Cracked wheat + spinach
  • 1½ c. instant bulgur wheat
  • 3 c. low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1x 14 oz. bag baby spinach
Kitchen notes:
You will need a large, 12- inch skillet. Alternatively, brown the chicken in batches or use two pans if you're comfortable multitasking.
Substitutions:
  • Couscous and Jasmine rice make excellent quick-cooking side dish options.
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of chicken stock to a boil. Add the bulgur wheat. Remove from the heat, and keep covered for about 20-25 minutes or until tender (drain any extra liquid if necessary). Add the olive oil and 2 handfuls of spinach. As you begin to stir, the residual heat will wilt the greens. Add the rest of the spinach and keep warm until ready to serve.
  2. Add ½ c. flour to a shallow bowl; add the remaining 1 teaspoon to a separate bowl for the sauce.
  3. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Dredge the cutlets in flour shaking off any excess as you go. Transfer to a plate.
  5. In a large 12-inch skillet, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Work in batches or use two separate pans. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Note: it is important to monitor the heat so that the flour does't burn. This will impart a bitter flavor to the sauce.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, prep the rest of your ingredients. Dice the shallots, mince or crush the garlic, open the white wine, rinse your capers, chop your parsley, and slice the lemons for garnish. If you use this time wisely, the dish will come together quickly in the end.
  7. To make the pan sauce, reduce the heat to low. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan. Saute the shallots until soft, but not colored, about 1 minute.
  8. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  9. 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.
  10. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. To thicken the sauce, add a splash of stock to the reserved 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.
  11. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
  12. Add the juice of half a lemon and sprinkle with capers.
  13. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan.
  14. Taste the dish; season with extra lemon juice, salt and pepper if desired.
  15. To serve, transfer the chicken to a serving platter and spoon the sauce over the top.
  16. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh parsley.
  17. Serve with bulgur wheat and spinach on the side.

cracked wheat harvest salad

cracked wheat harvest salad | The Clever Carrot

Step aside quinoa, I’ve found a new love…

Say hello, to cracked wheat. It’s a mild, nutty grain with a pleasantly chewy texture. If you like couscous, it tastes very similar-but better.

Technically, it is known as ‘bulgur wheat’ but I absolutely cannot stand that name (ugh, I can’t even type the word bulgur without cringing). So, I call it cracked wheat instead. Bulgur by definition is a partially cooked cracked wheat, so the names are often used interchangeably. And lucky for me (and you), this whole ‘partially cooked’ business works wonders in the kitchen; the instant kind is ready in 10 minutes flat!

So.

cracked wheat harvest salad | The Clever Carrot

I rallied up some vegetables and the last of my precious herbs from the garden to make this dish. It’s a warm, wilted grain salad which happens to by my favorite kind of salad. You get protein and fiber from the bulgur, err, cracked wheat and all kinds vitamins from the veg. For me, the radicchio/sweet potato combination steals the show. It’s got that yummy, bitter-sweet thing going on.

cracked wheat harvest salad | The Clever Carrotcracked wheat harvest salad | The Clever Carrot

If you came to my house for lunch, I’d probably serve you something like this. It’s healthy and filling, and a fun way to enjoy seasonal food. And don’t skimp on the dressing either. The honey balsamic is a must! Enjoy ;)

cracked wheat harvest salad | The Clever Carrot

Tips:

  • Shopping for bulgur wheat can get very confusing. It is often mislabeled as cracked wheat (and vice versa). Even though bulgur wheat is a cracked wheat, the difference between the two is how they are prepared. Bulgur wheat is par-cooked and then crushed or ‘cracked’, whereas cracked wheat is not cooked at all. For this recipe, I used the instant bulgur wheat available at Trader Joe’s.

cracked wheat harvest salad
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
Honey balsamic vinaigrette
  • ¼ balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ c. olive oil
Salad
  • 2 c. cooked bulgur wheat (I used instant)
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 large handful of shredded radicchio
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, (optional) cut into half-moons
  • ⅓ c. jarred roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
  • ½ c. pomegranate seeds
  • 1 small handful of red or vidalia onion, thinly shaved
  • ⅓ c. goat cheese, crumbled
  • fresh mint
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. To make the vinaigrette, add the balsamic vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard to a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Slowly add the olive oil, and continue whisking until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper so that the vegetables do not stick.
  3. In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes and eggplant (if using) and drizzle with olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the baking tray. Roast until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.
  4. Cook the bulgur wheat according to the package instructions. When finished, transfer to a large bowl.
  5. While the bulgur wheat is still warm, add the spinach and radicchio leaves to wilt slightly.
  6. Add the roasted vegetables, roasted red peppers, pomegranate seeds, and shaved onion to the bowl.
  7. Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to combine. Add more vinaigrette as needed.
  8. Right before serving, top the salad with crumbled goat cheese and fresh mint leaves to taste.
  9. Serve with extra dressing on the side.