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Subtly flavored lemon and herb cream sauce is the crowning glory to this sauteed chicken! One skillet and 30 minutes is all it takes.
One thing I always have on hand–because I buy it up when it’s on sale and vacuum seal it–is boneless skinless chicken breast halves. I was actually surprised by how much I did have. I recently bought a bigger upright freezer so I could store most of my frozen goods in there and they’d be easily accessible. I found so much of this in my smaller chest freezer that I’d forgotten about–I’ve been avoiding it lately because it’s a bit uncomfortable with my hip arthritis to dive in the thing. All I can say is thank heavens for Foodsaver because the chicken is just like the day I bought it (maybe 4-6 months ago).
In fact I have so much of this that I’m often looking for different ways to make it. I was thinking about lemon sauce a lot this week, mainly because I sprung for a bag of lemons, so I thought I’d give it a try with a creamy lemon sauce. I’d always wanted to try a creamier version of my Lemon Butter Chicken, so now was a good opportunity.
Adding a light herbal flavor was a spur of the moment thing. Today, my good friend and neighbor, Linda, whose name oddly enough is “Lemons,” and I went to the local garden center to buy some plants–and we are dedicated because it was literally pouring rain when we were there.
I picked up my usual–English thyme, hot & spicy oregano, curly & flat-leaf parsley and peppermint. I like to immediately pinch back on the thyme so the few little bits I pinched off went in the sauce. Along with the bit of thyme in went some parsley.
The result was a nice slightly tart cream sauce with a little whisper of herbs. This sauce is not overpowering; it’s very subtle. If you like a bolder herb flavor, then add more thyme or any herb that goes well with chicken–rosemary is one of them.
This sauce is rich so a little dab will do you with it. If you want more sauce for serving this with pasta, the recipe is easily doubled.
Chicken with Lemon Herb Cream Sauce
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup cream or evaporated milk
- 1-1 1/2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs see NOTES
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tbs flour
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or scant 1/8 tsp
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley or 1 tbs dried
- 1 tbs parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar optional
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- Using a meat mallet, pound chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper until it's 1/4-inch thickness.
- Dip each chicken breast in the cream or evaporated milk.
- Dredge with breadcrumbs.
- Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat and brown chicken well on each side. Pounding the chicken down makes it cook fast so it should be done and safe to eat after browning, but always test with a meat thermometer to be safe.
- Remove chicken from the pan; set aside and keep warm. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel.
- Return skillet to heat and melt the butter for the sauce.
- Add the flour and stir well so there are no lumps.
- Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and thyme. Cook for about 3 minutes.
- Gradually add the cream and milk, whisking constantly so the sauce remains smooth.
- Add the salt, garlic powder, pepper, sugar (if using), Parmesan cheese and the parsley. Stir well to combine. Simmer over low heat for 3-5 minutes.
- If sauce is too thick for your liking, thin with additional milk.
- You can return the chicken to the skillet if you wish so the sauce coats the chicken. Otherwise, place chicken on a serving platter and drizzle with some sauce. Serve additional sauce on the side.