Bring out the best tastes of summer with this easy Lemon Chicken with Capers served alongside creamy fresh Polenta dressed up with grilled Artichoke Hearts and Blistered Tomatoes!
“It is not death that you should fear, but you should fear never beginning to live,” as Marcus Aurelius remarked famously. To that point, the Queen of Jordan said once that “There are moments where I like to venture out of my comfort zone, because that’s what keeps you alive.”
In other words, ‘living’ involves breaking routine, and being momentarily uncomfortable in the challenge presented by the new, the strange, and the unfamiliar. The reason is simple and is one that we’ve all experienced, so much so that it’s embedded into our psychology as a species. Things that are familiar and comfortable cease to amaze and stimulate, and without stimulation, without the excitement of trials and challenge, we simply wither.
Now, why am I talking about this? Simply put, I had to ‘Step Out of My Comfort Food’ this past Saturday – or rather, I chose to do so. To start, polenta was something my Mother would make on occasion with lots of grated cheese, and garlic and the such. Over the years, I’ve made it only a handful of times for myself but I’ve never quite gotten the taste or feel that said “This is like Mom’s.” I’ve always wanted the sort of reaction for this particular recipe that my brother had when I prepared the first grain cake either of us had eaten in years, and on his first bite he looked up across the table at me and just said, “Yeah, that’s the flavor, that’s the grain cake.”
That said, last week I made plans with my brother to have him over for a pre-Father’s Day dinner and I decided to try my hand at that aforementioned polenta recipe for the occasion, but I decided I would be putting a slight ‘summery’ twist on it.
Naturally, that brings us to today’s recipes – Sautéed Chicken Breast with Lemon and Capers, paired with a Fresh Polenta with Grilled Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts.
To start things off, we begin by thinly slicing about two pounds of boneless chicken breast. After that, combine flour, salt, and ground black pepper in a shallow bowl, and dredge the chicken slices in this mixture, setting them aside on a platter as you do so.
After that, heat a large cast-iron frying pan with some olive oil and butter, and then place the chicken in the pan a few pieces at time, let them achieve a rich golden color on each side. Each piece should cook roughly three minutes per side, but this can change depending on the thickness of the chicken – the thicker the slice the longer they’ll need to cook.
Once the chicken is finished cooking, plate it as shown below, and it’s time to begin the sauce. To start, add lemon juice to the pan, and bring that to a mild heat, and then scrape up the browned bits with a spatula. Add a bit of butter and olive oil, and let that heat. Then add in capers, caper juice, and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and some red pepper flakes. For this recipe, I do prefer to use Reese Capers as they’re exceptionally flavorful and versatile.
Then add in the fresh basil, toss lightly, and pour the resulting sauce over the chicken, and top that with a dusting of grated Romano cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
Now, for the polenta.
To start, heat a large cast iron frying pan with a bit of butter and olive oil, and add in a pint of tomatoes and Reese Artichoke Hearts. Here again, my go-to brand for this recipe is Reese thanks to their reliable quality and flavor.
Allow the artichoke hearts to get a nice golden color, and by that point the tomatoes should be slightly charred. Now, once the tomatoes are charred, gently crush them with a spoon, and then turn off the heat leave this aside until the polenta itself is ready.
In a separate, heavy sauce pan…can you guess by now? If you guessed ‘heat with oil,’ you’re spot on. Then add in garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant. Add chicken broth to this, and let it come to a slight boil. Now, slowly add in the polenta, whisking briskly as you do.
In the pictures, well, you’ll notice I didn’t quite follow my own advice and used a spoon instead. Trust me, use the whisk.
Once you’ve whisked in all of the polenta, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking for about thirty minutes, stirring often but not continuously. You want the polenta to thicken, but to still be creamy. At the end of this process, add in about a quarter of the cup of butter, lemon juice and a copious amount of grated cheese, and season to your preference with salt, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Then scoop the polenta into a serving bowl, and top with the artichoke hearts and tomatoes as shown below and give the finished product a final dusting of grated Roman cheese and fresh black ground black pepper.
And just like that, I Stepped out of My Comfort Food, and had prepared a delicious summer dinner.
Don’t forget to use your Ibotta app to save on Reese products when you try Reese Artichokes, Hearts of Palm, Capers, and Horseradish at your local supermarket. Also Reese Specialty Foods is hosting a Summer Sweepstakes – don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a Kitchenaid Mixer and other great prizes!
Enjoy with Love!