Chicken breast is both the bane and the boon of the healthy eater. On one hand, it's mercilessly overhyped and generally underwhelming, especially compared to the darker, moister chicken thigh. On the other hand, it's inexpensive, lean, high in protein, and kind of a clean slate taste-wise, not to mention highly adaptable to all kinds of flavors from a range of international cuisines.
The trick to palatable chicken breast is not overcooking it. (Duh.) One way of accomplishing this is slicing a thicker breast into thin fillets and quickly browning both sides in a pan. It locks in moisture, and usually leaves bits stuck to the bottom of the cooking vessel, which can then be turned into a sauce. It worked for today's dish, Chicken with Artichokes and Capers, a lighter version of the usually fried Chicken Piccata.
Adapted from All Recipes, the dish is flavored with wine, chicken broth, capers, and a little lemon, and comes together in under 30 minutes. I took two-thirds of the oil out of the original recipe, but it's hardly noticeable. Served on top of a bed of spinach, orzo, or larger pasta, it's a solid weeknight meal.
Whatever your opinion on cheap chicken breast—its flavor, health quotient, or ethical concerns—as long as there are people who want low-fat meat, it will continue to be ubiquitous for years to come. In the meantime, we might as well make the best of it.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1/2-inch filets
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Extra lemon, for squeezing
Pat chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until both sides are browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
Add broth, wine, and lemon juice to hot pan. Scrape up any browned chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 2/3rds of the artichoke hearts (store the rest) and capers and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup.
Stir butter into remaining liquid. Add chicken back to pan. When warmed, serve chicken and sauce over spinach, orzo, or pasta. Sprinkle parsley on top. Squeeze a little lemon juice over everything, if desired.