As I mentioned last week, we are trying to break out of our routine of the same old dinners night after night. When I was looking for inspiration I read through my master dinner list. It did what I hoped and reminded me of dishes I hadn’t made in a while. Lemon chicken used to appear regularly on the table, but I had forgotten about it. It was one of Rich’s favorites when he was a kid.
I have two different recipes from my mother-in-law for lemon chicken. I can never remember which one we like better. One of the recipes had more handwritten notes on it, so I figured it was the one I made the most often. I made a few more changes and hit on the version that is our new favorite. And this time I typed up the final version so I won’t have to guess what to do next time.
I doubled the lemons in the original recipe and used both the zest and juice to really make it lemon chicken. I also added more chicken broth because we like a lot of sauce. The sauce was slightly too harsh and acidic, but a drizzle of honey took care of that. The honey doesn’t make the sauce sweet at all, but it softens the bite from the lemon just enough to balance the whole thing.
Crispy chicken, just tart enough sauce and fluffy rice – just the thing to break us out of our dinner rut.
Lemon Chicken with Rice
From The Cook’s Life
2 cloves garlic
1 small shallot or ½ small onion
2 cups water
1 cup rice, jasmine or basmati preferred
3 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup cornstarch, approximately
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon honey, approximately
Zest the lemons and set aside. Juice the lemons and set aside. Finely chop the garlic and shallot or onion and set aside.
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Stir once and cover the pot. Cook rice 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Keep rice warm until ready to serve.
While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet. While the oil is heating, season the cornstarch with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in cornstarch, coating all sides.
When the oil is hot, place the chicken in the pan in a single layer. Cook chicken, undisturbed and uncovered, for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn chicken and cook the second side for another 4-5 minutes.
Cut into the largest piece of chicken to make sure it is cooked all the way through. Cook a few more minutes, if necessary. Remove cooked chicken to a plate and keep warm.
Add garlic and shallots or onion to the pan and sauté until soft – about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, zest and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer sauce for about 5 minutes. Drizzle in cornstarch mixed with water. Stir constantly until sauce thickens slightly. Stir in honey.
Add chicken back to pan and stir gently to coat chicken with sauce, or serve sauce on the side.
Serve chicken over rice. Leftovers reheat well.