Tuesday 19 June 2007

Lemony Chicken Strips: my family's all-time top-rated supper

It's a nice recipe, I admit, but not so tasty it sends me into raptures. So why do my kids beg me on bended knees to make this week after week? Is it the lemonyness? Is it the chickeniness? You tell me: make it yourself, try it out on the kids, and send me some feedback.

This is a simple recipe with just a few ingredients. It's a bit too much work for my liking - I detest having to stand in front of a stove frying things - but I admit that it's worth the effort. I can't remember where I read this recipe - I seem to remember that it was in an article about the favourite dishes of famous chefs.

Lemony Chicken Strips
8 deboned, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup (125 ml) white flour
salt & freshly milled black pepper
2 T sunflower oil
2 T butter
1 skinny clove garlic, crushed
the juice of 3 lemons
1 cup (250 ml) white wine or stock
a generous handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Lay the chicken breasts flat on a board. Cut out the fillet and slice vertically into two strips. Now cut horizontally through the breast, to make two thin leaves. Cut the leaves lengthways to make thin strips about 5 cm long.

Put the flour into a plastic bag or bowl and add a few pinches of salt and a generous grinding of black pepper. Now add the chicken strips and toss well to coat.

Heat the oil and butter in a large, flat-bottomed pan or frying pan, over a high flame. When the fats stop foaming, turn the heat down to medium. Remove the chicken strips from the bag or bowl and shake off any excess flour - they should be lightly dusted. Fry the chicken, in batches, until it's golden brown on the outside (don't worry if the strips are not cooked through). Put the cooked chicken strips onto a plate while you fry the rest. Add more oil to the pan if necessary, but don't let any dark, burned bits develop. (If they do, wipe out the pan with some kitchen paper, and start again with fresh oil and butter).

Remove the last pieces of chicken from the pan. Tip the frying pan over the sink to remove any excess fat, then replace on the heat and add the lemon juice, the garlic and and the wine (or stock or water). Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir and scrape to release the golden-brown residue on the bottom of the pan. Turn down the heat, and allow the mixture to bubble for a minute. Now put the chicken and its leaked juices back into the pan and stir gently. As the flour is released from the chicken strips, the sauce will thicken slightly. Allow to simmer for a few minutes, or until the strips are cooked right through, but still meltingly tender. Turn off the heat, season with salt and black pepper, stir in the chopped parsley and toss well.

Serve with lemon wedges, a green salad and boiled new potatoes.

Serves 5.

Recipe rating:

My rating: 7/10
Teenagers' rating: 10/10. 'Don't finish it all, you pig. I want some in my lunch box tomorrow.'
Small-daughter rating: 10/10. Not one complaint.
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