Family Classics: Dad’s Lemon Chicken

Sharing my dad’s lemon chicken recipe with you to kick off my family classics series! This chicken is a perfect definition of a comforting family dinner…simple, nourishing, really tasty, and something everyone will love. Serve it over pasta with lots of freshly grated parmesan on top.

Lemon Chicken

introducing: family classics!

If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know how much of my love for cooking has come from my family. My brothers and I grew up eating so much good food – from my dad’s spontaneous recipe creation to the meals we grew to know and love through my grandparents and all the weeknight favorites my mom would make for us. On top of that, our family’s business is made up of two famous chicago establishments: nancy’s pizzeria and al’s italian beef.

To this day, food is still such a big part of our lives. We’re a family that goes all out for holiday meals. We love indulging in our little “traditions” every year. We make our favorite recipes over and over again. We have so many memories and feelings we associate with certain special meals and recipes. And my brothers and I still gather at my parent’s house just about every Sunday for our traditional family dinner.

Always cooking. Always eating.

Lemon Chicken

And ever since I started my blog, my family has been my biggest supporters (and best taste testers) of all my new and creative recipes. But, no matter what new thing I’m creating, we never fail to crave our family classics – the recipes we always come back to, made by the people we love most.

I’ll be featuring some of our family classics here on the blog, and while I think the memories we attach to them are what make them so special to us, I’m confident these are extremely delicious recipes that you’ll love, too.

Lemon Chicken

dad’s lemon chicken – the details

So let me introduce my dad’s lemon chicken. It’s a really simple, nourishing recipe that he makes every year as part of our Christmas dinner. We’ve come to associate it with the holiday, but I think this is SUCH a great everyday recipe.

It has a minimal list of ingredients, is perfectly served over pasta, and can be completed with a side of any vegetable you’d like. The chicken gets a dredging of flour and egg before cooking in sizzling hot oil. You’ll sear all the chicken in the skillet, and then transfer it to the oven to finish cooking. Meanwhile, you’ll whip up a simple pan sauce that uses the chicken drippings, sherry wine, chicken stock, lemon juice, dried oregano, and a little butter.

The slightly crispy exterior of the chicken, combined with the luxurious lemon sauce seeping between every crevice, results in a mouth-watering texture. The key is to use really thin chicken breasts. So, you can either “butterfly” them yourself or ask your butcher to do it. Once the chicken is done baking, it sits in the sauce for a minute or so before being served over a mound of pasta. The extra sauce is spooned over top and finished with lots of parmesan cheese.

I hope you love this lemon chicken as much as my family does, and hopefully you can find some comfort in these family classics. I can’t wait to share the next one, so stay tuned!!

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Family Classics: Dad’s Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

slightly crispy chicken smothered in a rich, tangy lemon sauce and served over pasta with lots of parmesan 

servings: 4

  • Author: Kayla Howey

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs 
  • 4 chicken breasts, butterflied + cut in half (8 pieces total)* 
  • kosher salt
  • vegetable oil 
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cooking sherry wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 large lemons
  • ½ tsp dried oregano 
  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • ½ lb dried pasta, cooked 
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley 
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese 
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the flour into a mixing bowl. Crack the eggs into another mixing bowl and beat well. 
  2. Prepare a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to come about ¼” up the side of the skillet. While the oil heats, pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and season well with salt on both sides. 
  3. Add the chicken to the flour and toss really well to coat. Working in batches, transfer the chicken to the eggs, first shaking off the excess flour from each piece. Coat well with the egg and then carefully transfer the chicken to the oil, first allowing the excess egg to drip off each piece. 
  4. Cook the chicken until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a sheet pan and finish searing the remaining chicken. Once each piece is seared, bake the chicken for 6-8 minutes to finish cooking through. 
  5. Meanwhile, keep about 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the sherry wine and chicken stock. Slice half of a lemon and add the slices to the sauce, along with the juice from the remaining 1 ½ lemons and the dried oregano. 
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter. Transfer the chicken to the skillet and coat with the sauce. 
  7. Serve the chicken over pasta with all the extra sauce spooned over top. Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley, lots of grated parmesan cheese, and freshly cracked black pepper to your liking.

Notes

You want your chicken breasts thin for this recipe so that you can really taste the crispy battered exterior in every bite. Typically when butterflying chicken, you’ll slice into it and open it like a book so that  you have a large, thin piece of chicken. For this, you want to actually cut the breast into two pieces. You can ask your butcher to butterfly and cut the chicken for you. 

Or…

To Butterfly the Chicken: Place each chicken breast flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, position the knife flat to the cutting board and carefully slice horizontally into the chicken. Keep stroking your knife through until the chicken splits in half, resulting in two thinner chicken breasts.

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Lemon Chicken

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