Author Notes: I’ve been making this recipe for more than 25 years. I remember watching a talk show on which Dick Van Patten (the dad in the TV show “Eight is Enough”) and his wife were being interviewed about their life together. There was a cooking segment and they presented a recipe they called Lemon Chicken. I’ve been adapting that basic recipe for all these years and don’t remember much about the original, except that it called for packaged seasoned bread crumbs, a convenience food I gave up a long time ago.
This is a great dish for lemon lovers. It’s one of the few times I prefer standard (Eureka) lemons to Meyer lemons. I prefer the tart acid mellowed with chicken stock and white wine. You may go either way. The coating calls for ground fresh bread crumbs. I’ve tried panko, and I think fresh bread crumbs are better since the coating doesn’t really stay crispy after baking the chicken in the sauce. You can use herbs of your choice.
What I love about this recipe is that I can make it on a week night, and I can serve it at a dinner party. It’s very versatile.
For the chicken:
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- ~1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I like grapeseed for this, but use what you have.)
- Mix the flour, salt and pepper, together and place on one plate, and mix the herbs and garlic into the bread crumbs, and place onto a different plate. On a third plate or shallow bowl, lightly beat the 2 eggs.
- Coat both sides of each piece of chicken with the flour mixture and then place into the beaten egg, coating both sides. Then dip each piece into the bread crumbs, covering both sides. Set on the clean plate and continue coating the rest of the chicken.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Once hot (a bread crumb dropped in will sizzle), add 2-3 breaded cutlets, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, turning when the breading has turned golden brown flip. Add additional oil as needed. When both sides are nicely browned, drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all cutlets are fried.
For the sauce and couscous:
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Juice of one large lemon (about 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice)
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, optional
- more lemon juice to taste
- Heat oven to 350. Layer the cutlets in a shallow baking dish. Pour in the chicken broth, wine and lemon juice. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, bring chicken broth to a boil and stir in the couscous. Turn off heat and let couscous sit covered till all liquid is absorbed.
- Remove chicken from the oven. Pour the sauce off into a saucepan. Cover chicken and keep it warm. Boil sauce until reduced by about 1/4 and slightly thickened. Taste sauce and add salt, pepper and lemon juice as desired.
- To serve, place a scoop of couscous and a chicken cutlet on a plate. Spoon the sauce over both the chicken and the couscous, and sprinkle about a tablespoon of toasted pine nuts (if using) on top.