Last night's dinner was inspired by two recipes, one for lemon chicken from Taste of the Territory a Service League cookbook from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and the second for lemon pasta from The Best of the Best, Best of Bridge Series Cookbooks. Hey, with two great sources like that failure's not likely to be an option.
Our Meyer's lemons (at least that's what they started out to be but they've morphed into a cross between Meyer's and Eureka's) are coming on strong right now and a ton of them are ready for picking which means any recipe with lemon in it is fair game. I made good use of 4 of them in this tasty lemon loaded dish.
The chicken's marinated in a mixture of vinegar, Dijon, black pepper, sliced whole lemons and olive oil for a minimum 6 hours before it hits the grill, resulting in tender moist morsels of lemon flavored bird. I had half a mind to grill the lemon slices too, but was afraid to because of the fear of contamination so I discarded the zip bag of marinade instead.
As for the pasta, you could use almost anything; in fact, the recipe calls for fettucine, but I used Barilla's Campanelle because of their unique trumpet like shape (Big Guy picked 'em out). Anyway, the boiled pasta's combined with sauteed onion and garlic, then tossed in the zest and juice of a whole lemon, followed by half and half and grated Parmesan. The key to this one is to make sure the pasta's absorbed the lemon juice before the cream hits the pot otherwise you'll end up with a curdled mess. As you'll notice I didn't do that, so in order to disguise the curdled look I threw in a handful of fresh mozzarella. Oh I forgot to mention I added a little dried tarragon along with some fresh from our herb garden too, but it's been planted quite recently and I didn't want to steal too much of it.
Once I got over lamenting the fact that I'd curdled the darned sauce, I realized we really liked this dish. Of course by then Big Guy was giving me the "look" because he was well into his bowl of lemony goodness and steering towards his salad - all without uttering one word. I guess sometimes it's a good sign when the dinner conversation's a trifle limited, huh?
Incidentally, if snow, rain, wind and/or some other excuse like maybe flying insects or a shortage of propane are keeping you from your grill, you can certainly cook the chicken in a saute pan or shove it under the broiler. Just sayin'.
Grilled Lemon Chicken Pasta (from JBug’s Kitchen, inspired by Taste of the Territory, Flair and Flavor of Oklahoma and Best of the Best, Best of Bridge Series Cookbooks)
1.25 pounds chicken tenders
2 tablespoons white or tarragon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 whole lemons, sliced (seeds removed)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Combine ingredients in a zip bag, seal and massage to distribute ingredients evenly in chicken. Place into a container to catch drips, if any, and refrigerate for 6 hours (or longer if you can). To cook, remove chicken from zip bag and discard marinade. Heat grill to medium hot, and cook chicken approximately 7 to 9 minutes, turning often. Remove from grill when cooked through and allow to rest to distribute juices. Slice each tender into thirds. Set aside (keep warm or reheat in microwave when needed).
8 ounces pasta of your choice
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
1 lemon, juice and grated rind
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella (optional)
1 lemon, cut into wedges (seeds removed)
Fresh tarragon for garnish
Cook pasta per package directions. Drain well. Meanwhile in a large sauté pan heat butter and olive oil until butter has melted. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until onion is softened. Stir in tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta and lemon zest and juice. Toss pasta until lemon juice is absorbed, then add cream. Toss pasta to coat well and allow to absorb cream. Add pine nuts, parmesan cheese and mozzarella if using. Toss in warmed chicken pieces. Garnish with additional grated parmesan, lemon wedges and fresh tarragon. Serves 4.
A year ago - Turkey and Stuffing Hand Pies
Two year's ago - Pumpkin Charlotte with Bourbon