Chicken sauté with caramel and lemon

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This recipe comes from a chapter memorably titled ‘The Many Moods of a Chicken Sauté’ from Lois’ book Dinner at Home (my most recent Lois acquisition). Using the same basic cooking method Lois creates six different chicken dishes with quite different attitudes.

As well as carefully selecting from what is in season and at its best, Lois also carefully thinks about the way she will cook each dish to bring out the best of the ingredients. This doesn’t involve complicated methods or equipment, but just time and attention.

I served the chicken sauté with caramel and lemon with cavolo nero with fennel seeds and a potato, onion and garlic gratin, which made for a lovely almost-winter Sunday supper.

Chicken sauté with caramel and lemon (Lois Daish, Dinner at Home, p.17-18)

6 boneless chicken thighs, skin removed or left on according to your preference

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons oil

zest and juice of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup chicken stock or water

1 teaspoon cornflour

1 tablespoon water

handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

Put the lemon zest and sugar into a small saucepan and heat over a moderate heat until the sugar melts and caramelises. Remove the pot from the heat and immediately squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the chicken stock or water and return to the heat to melt the caramel. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce slightly, then mix the cornflour and water together and add this to the sauce. Set aside while you cook the chicken. Note: this sauce can be made ahead of time.

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper while you heat up the oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken pieces and brown well on one side, then turn over and brown the other side. Cover the pan and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the chicken is cooked (check this by piercing a piece with a skewer or small knife and the juices should run clear).

Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the pan and place onto a serving dish. Tip any excess oil out of the frying pan and add the caramel lemon sauce to the pan. Scrape up any delicious crunchy bits from the pan into the sauce and then pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.

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