Chicken Piccata (Picatta), for 16 servings

Chicken Piccata (also spelled Picatta)

Served at a Dialog Dinner, June 30, 2010.

Serves 16

I bought 15 pieces of chicken for 16 people…planning on -just under- one piece of chicken per person.

Time: For the best results, this takes some planning and a bit of time b/c it has a couple of stages:  Cutting, sitting, frying, sauteing, which you’ll learn about as you read the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 9 chicken thighs (I used the two types of meat to keep the food cost lower and b/c I really like the taste of dark meat.)
  • 1 cup potato flour (I’m gluten-free)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground is best (to be added at the end, after cooking)
  • 24 oz butter (three 8 0z packages of Irish Butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup minced shallots (1/2 cup per batch)

Ingredients for the Piccata sauce

  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2 oranges, zest and juice (most recipes call for chicken stock, I think the orange juice gives the sauce a wonderfully sweet and lighter flavor)
  • caper juice
  • capers

I was inspired to make this dish while I was enjoying a wonderful Salmon Piccata (Picatta) meal in Tahoe this past weekend. (Me and two others did two days of mountain biking … the Flume Trail, on the ridge above the east shore of Lake Tahoe – a truly epic ride for it’s constant vistas of the lake basin (http://www.theflumetrail.com/). And, we did the Downieville Downhill (http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails/downieville-downhill.html), the annual race here is known for being the longest and most demanding downhill mountain bike race in the nation. Watch this video of me going through the Rock Garden…..

Click here to see a video of me going through the Rock Garden …. teehee, JK (just kidding) it’s not me. … but I did make it through the rock garden – just not with as much finesse. I can attest that – at least for me – this ride is very demanding, yet not quite as technical as Santa Cruz’s Soquel Demonstration Area downhill ride (http://www.mountainbikebill.com/DemoForest07.htm). I digress, back to the recipe.

Directions (reminder – this is for 16 servings)

1. Cut cold chicken into bite-sized pieces, set aside, see TIPS, above.

2. In 2-quart sauce pan, bring the wine, orange juice and caper juice to a low simmer. Keep at low low simmer until the mixture has reduced in half, then turn the temp the lowest setting possible.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add this mixture to the chicken once the chicken has been sitting for a least an hour. Mix well so that each piece is covered; set aside for a 1/2 hour, see TIPS, above.

4. In large frying pan, heat the butter and the shallots.

5. Then add the chicken, about 10 pieces at a time. Cook for only 2 – 3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken, set aside in medium-sized bowl.

6. Deglaze the pan after each batch, use the white wine reduction sauce to deglaze the pan. B/c – the butter will be low and the shallots and bits of flour will turn brown … so…. remove this before they get too dark. Pour a bit of white wine on the pan to deglaze the pan, scrape the pan to remove this very tasty caramelized residue. Put all of this back in with the reduction sauce.

7. Repeat #4, 5 and 6 above until all chicken is cooked.

8. This can be done a day or two ahead of time, or freeze to use at a later time.

9. To finish cooking the chicken: Transfer the heated reduction sauce to a large heated frying pan, and add as many (room temperature) chicken pieces that can fit, cook on each side for about 3 minutes.

10. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and add chopped parsley and capers. (I tossed in the capers just before serving b/c I don’t like cooked capers – they lose their potency and become too mushy to enjoy.)


Tips:

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator or freezer and bring to room temperature before adding it to the heated sauce. Adding chilled chicken will reduce the temperature of the sauce and there will be a delay in cooking time while the sauce comes back up to a hot temperature. The chicken will cook a bit during that time, which you don’t want b/c this could overcook it and make it tough and chewy. Generally, cooking cold meat creates a chewy texture.

Click here to learn more tips on “How to make tender chicken.”