Friday, July 13, 2012

Lemon-Brown Sugar Chicken

 
Mary, Mary quite contrary.
How does your chicken taste?
A tangy sweetness lightly sprinkled
with sugar before it bakes.

Begin with 5 chicken breasts (or you can easily swap this out with other cuts of chicken).  I sliced these breasts into four equal lengthwise strips. 
 
 Zest a lemon.

 
You'll need almost two cups of lemon juice...this is my favorite brand because it's so pure and puckery.  But of course you can juice real lemons if you'd prefer.
 
Let the chicken marinate in the lemon juice and zest overnight...or up to 48 hours.  (Be sure to use a non-metal bowl so the acid in the lemon juice won't react with the metal.)

 When you're ready to cook, blot the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel.

 In a gallon-size Ziplock bag, mix together the flour, paprika, pepper, and salt.
Add the chicken in several batches and toss around to coat the pieces well.  (Kids would love to help with this part...just triple-check that the bag is closed!)

Grab some oil that has a high smoke point.  (I love grapeseed oil).  

Add the oil to your heaviest skillet and crank the heat to medium-high.

Once the oil is hot, carefully add the chicken (in batches).  Let it sizzle about 5 minutes on each side.   The pieces need to get a rich and golden crust.


 Now, put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  And zest another lemon. 

 Sprinkle with brown sugar,

and decorate with lemon slices.  Cover with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes.  (Check the thickest piece of chicken to ensure it's cooked through.)

 Enjoy.

Here's the printable recipe.

Lemon-Brown Sugar Chicken
Serves 4 as an entree

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4 equal strips lengthwise
1.5 cups lemon juice
2 lemons (both will be zested; one will be sliced)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine the chicken strips, the lemon juice, and the zest from one lemon in a non-reactive bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 48 hours (for extra-lemony chicken).  Turn the chicken occasionally while it's marinating.

Drain the chicken well.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Fill a zipper-close plastic bag with the flour, salt, paprika, and pepper.  Shake well to mix.   Put several pieces of chicken in the bag at a time and shake well to coat completely.  Place floured chicken on a plate. Repeat until all chicken has been coated.  

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet (I prefer cast iron) or a Dutch oven until very hot.  Carefully brown the chicken pieces, a few at a time, until golden and crisp - about 5 minutes on each side. 

Arrange the browned chicken strips on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle evenly with the zest from the second lemon.  Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the chicken pieces.  Then, slice the zested lemon into paper-thin slices and arrange them over the chicken.  

Cover baking sheet with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes, until thickest slice of chicken is cooked through. 

Recipe adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook: Delicious Recipes, Menus, Tips, and Lore from Manhattan's Celebrated Gourmet Food Shop.

2 comments:

Charlotte said...

That sounds great. Can't wait to try it.

Mary said...

Mary, Mary quite contrary????? I beg to-
Okay. She is!! She is drooling on the keyboard at this recipe!