Poulet Française is chicken breasts blanketed in a decadent sauce of fresh lemon enhanced with a dry white wine and a generous dollop of sweet butter. The sauce is slowly simmered until it reduces by half to intensify the star of the ingredient list, the lemon.
Française, or ‘prepared in the French manner’ gives the impression of being an intricate dish that comes together with minimal time and with the humblest of ingredients. It’s simple, yet sublime.
Served over Italian egg pasta, this melt-in-your-mouth magic explodes with bright flavors.
Sorry, no photo. I have made this dish several times, and each time I forget to photograph it before eating. It’s that good!
For the Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced in half lengthwise (or 6-8 chicken cutlets)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk or light cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
For the Sauce
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup onion, chopped or minced
2 – 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 2 juicy lemons) *
2-3 tablespoons lemon zest
2 cups chicken broth
Salt to taste
1 lemon, sliced, about 6 to 8 thin slices
Tagliatelle Italian egg pasta, cooked according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
* Use Meyer lemons if they are in season.
In a shallow dish — a pie plate works well — whisk together the eggs and milk. Set aside. Combine the salt and flour in a separate pie plate and place next to the egg mixture. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of avocado oil and two tablespoons of butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Using tongs, dredge the chicken in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, allowing excess egg to drip back onto the plate. Transfer to the flour once again, turning to coat. Shake off any extra flour and place chicken in the hot skillet.
Cook two or three pieces of chicken at a time, turning once, until well-browned, about three minutes on each side. Transfer to the paper-towel lined baking sheet. Repeat, adding more butter and oil if needed, until all chicken is cooked. Set chicken aside.
Add three tablespoons butter to the now empty skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until soft and caramelized.
Sprinkle two tablespoons of flour over the onions and stir for two minutes. Pour in the wine, lemon juice, and chicken broth. Increase the temperature to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the sauce, stirring frequently, until it is reduced to about 1-1/2 cups and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low. Add lemon zest and the last tablespoon of butter to the sauce. Stir gently until melted. Check the seasoning and add salt as needed. The lemon flavor will be intense.
Add the lemon slices to the sauce and then add the chicken cutlets back to the pan atop the lemon slices. Heat gently for four or five minutes, turning once, or until heated through.
PLATE THE DISH
Remove the chicken and the lemon slices from the sauce and set aside. Using tongs, add half of the cooked pasta to the sauce. Gently swirl the pasta in the sauce, taking care to coat it well. Toss the coated pasta with the remaining pasta in a serving bowl. Because the sauce is lemon-intense, by coating only half and tossing with the remainder, you will have a nice flavor without it being overpowering. Add the chicken to the serving bowl atop the pasta. Top the chicken with the sautéed lemon slices. Pour any remaining sauce over the chicken and pasta.
If you make this recipe, snap a pic of your dish and hashtag it #kellylenihancooks. I'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
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