Monday, February 18, 2013

Preparing for Hell Week and Some Chicken Piccata...

Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend. I'm preparing both at home and mentally for the worst 20 days of my year, Hell week!

Hell week is usually referred to college students preparing for exams and papers or Navy Seals during their rigorous training. Anyone that works at a restaurant in Denver knows that the last week of February and first week of March is our Hell week, also know as Restaurant Week. Its basically two weeks of working everyday serving 1000's of people a day ( I kid you not, 1000's at one of my restaurants), working long grueling hours, its a roller coaster of emotion every year.

It hasn't even started yet and everyone I work with is ready for it to be over. For the next 20 days straight I will be juggling  two jobs, my kiddo, and will try to blog my usual two posts a week and try not to throw my hands up in the air and give up. If I don't make it, I'll see you on the flip side!

Liam has been under the weather lately and I wanted to make him something that I knew he would gobble right up. I make this Chicken Piccata at least once a month, we both love it so much. Its a great recipe that is wonderful to share with friends and pair with a glass of Santa Julia Torrontes.

Do you have any horror stories of working in restaurants?

To achieve that desirable crispy skin on the chicken, its important pat breasts dry, then season with salt and pepper, liberally. 

Dust in flour and shake off excess, you don't want clumps of flour on the meat.

Mince shallot and garlic, the smaller the better. It will almost melt into the sauce.

Fresh organic lemons are best. One day I will have a lemon tree!

Capers are amazing...

Ignore the ugly pans, I'm saving for some sexy new stainless steel ones. 

Chicken Piccata

makes 4 servings

Preheat oven to 200º F, line a baking dish with paper towels, and heat oil in pan on medium-high heat.

1 Large Organic Lemons, enough for 1/4 Cup of fresh squeezed juice
2 Large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cutlets or 4 precut cutlets
1/2 Cup Flour
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 Small Shallot, minced. Enough for 2 Tablespoons
1 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2 Tablespoons Capers
3 Tablespoons Cold Butter

Pat Chicken cutlets dry and season with Salt and Pepper.

Dust in flour and set aside while oil heats up.

Once oil is hot add chicken breasts and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, important not to move meat once its in the pan to achieve that crispy skin. Cook only 2 cutlets at a time, insuring not to overcrowd pan.

Transfer to baking dish and put in oven. 

To make sauce:

Drain oil for pan reserving brown bits and enough oil to cook shallot and garlic.

With heat set on Medium add shallot to pan and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Add stock and increase heat to high scraping the brown bits, this is all flavor that will build a beautiful and flavorful sauce. Simmer until liquid reduces to 1/3 Cup, about 4-5 minutes.

Add lemon juice and capers until sauce reduces again to 1/3 Cup, about 1-2 minutes. 

Turn off heat and add cold butter, and stir in by rotating pan.

Remove Chicken from oven and make sure internal temperature has reached 165º F.

Pour sauce over Chicken and serve with Mashed Potatoes.

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