Lemon Chicken – Flavor Explosion

Lemon ChickenThis Lemon Chicken is a flavorful combination of Spring flavors. Chicken fillets are braised in lemon pan sauce and topped with crisped capers and caramelized lemon slices. A vibrant sweet pea puree adds color, a touch of heat and the freshness of mint.  A great idea for a Spring dinner party or anyone you want to impress!

Lemon Chicken – new techniques

I love the chance to learn something new, which is one of the reasons I gave this recipe a try.  As I mentioned in my Sear & Sauce It post, I’ve cooked thin slices of meat served with pan sauce. But I’ve never crisped capers or caramelized lemon slices before. While these touches seem like just a garnish, they both add great flavor and visual interest. Who knew that a lemon slice, once sugared and caramelized, could be quite delicious. Nothing like the puckering effect of a fresh lemon.

I’ve also never made a sweet pea puree. Not sure whether to call this no-cook preparation for peas, a sauce or a side dish. It has an intriguing chorus of flavors from a combination of green chili pepper, fresh mint and feta. I added a pinch of cayenne as well. The recipe mentioned the sweet pea puree had a touch of heat, but my serrano pepper didn’t quite do the job.

Where’s the heat?

A small side rant about the lack of heat in jalapeño and serrano peppers these days. Not sure why I always end up with peppers that have the equivalent heat of  a green pepper. Do they harvest these peppers before their time – like strawberries and tomatoes – then gas them into ripeness? No idea, just an odd annoyance. Perhaps it’s time to grow my own this season? I just ran out of my pickled jalapenos, which I probably made 10 years ago. I guess it’s time to get growing again!

If you’re wondering about the rice side dish, it’s Uncle Ben’s Garden Vegetable Ready Rice. Even a special dinner party needs an easy button for at least one of the recipes!

Lemon Chicken

Serving Size: 4 servings


    Lemon Chicken
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken cutlets, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained & dried
  • flour for dredging
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
    Sweet Pea Puree
  • 8 ounces frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 green chili (I used a serrano)
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of cayenne, optional


    Lemon Chicken
  • If you purchased chicken that isn't thinly sliced, place it in the freezer for about an hour. Then slice through it with a long sharp knife to create cutlets.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and then add capers. Stir until they are crisp, about 2 minutes. Be careful because they can pop. Transfer to small bowl.
  • Mix flour and chili powder on a plate. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and coat pieces lightly with flour, shaking off excess.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil to to skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook to until lightly golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
  • Dip lemon slices in sugar, coating on both sides and add to skillet. Cook over medium heat until lightly caramelized, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plate with chicken.
  • Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet and cook shallots, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits on bottom of the pan.
  • Return chicken and lemon slices to the pan, and simmer for a few more minutes, covered, until chicken is done. Turn chicken at least once to coat with sauce.
  • Transfer chicken and lemon slices to dinner plates and simmer sauce until it has thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve with capers and Sweet Pea puree, if desired.
    Sweet Pea Puree
  • Combine thawed peas, 1/2 cup broth, feta, mint, garlic, green chili and salt in food processor and puree until smooth. If it seems too thick, add a little more broth. Taste for heat and add a pinch of cayenne if desired. Serve at room temperature.
  • Note - if you want to create a decorative design with the puree, spoon into a small zip lock baggie. Snip the corner and pipe onto plate.


Adapted from Star Tribune Taste section recipe which was based on Sara Moulton's Home Cooking 101 by Sara Moulton


Let Me Know What You Think!