Friday, January 22, 2010

Family Dinner Night

It happens rarely, so when my family is able to get the three of us around the same table, we try to make it special.

Tonight, the menu consisted of chicken paillards with lemon butter sauce, cheese risotto and french bread with oil and vinegar for dipping.

The other day I was watching Today and Martha Stewart was on.  She was making pork paillards, and I was very fascinated with the concept of pounding out meats so that they not only cook faster, but you get more meat for your buck, so to speak.

So, to I went, and I easily found the recipes.  First, I had to learn how to make the chicken paillards.  Not too difficult.  Here is what Martha says:

Step 1


Start with a bone-in breast half (this will yield 2 paillards). Insert tip of a boning knife near the ribs, and work the knife along the bone to remove the meat.

**I definitely bought boneless chicken.  I wasn't about to press my luck this far!  Moving on!**

Step 2


Place one hand on the chicken, curving your fingers up slightly for safety. Slice meat horizontally, cutting almost to the other side. Open it like a book.

Step 3


Place meat inside a plastic bag or between plastic wrap. Working from center out, pound with the smooth side of a mallet until meat is 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2 pieces.

And it really is that simple!  Well, for the paillard part, anyway.

Then, I went on to find a recipe for a lemon butter chicken paillard.  Seriously?  Lemon?  Butter?  How can you go wrong?!


Serves 2 to 4
  • 4 chicken paillards (from 2 breast halves)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced or sliced shallot
  • Segments and juice of 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock


  1. Season 4 chicken paillards (from 2 breast halves) on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter foams. Add 2 paillards, and saute on 1 side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Flip, and saute paillards until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Raise heat to medium-high, and repeat with remaining paillards.
  2. Add 1/4 cup minced or sliced shallot to skillet, and cook over medium heat, adding oil or butter as needed, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high. Add segments and juice of 2 lemons, 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock, and any plate juices, and deglaze the pan, scraping brown bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Simmer until sauce reduces by half, about 3 minutes. Gradually stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces) until just melted. Season to taste.
From Martha Stewart Living, January 2010

I will not even pretend to be the world's greatest cook.  My risotto was out of a box; it's glorified rice-a-roni.  But I love taking on recipes like this simple one!

So here is out it all turned out:

I have my laptop out with my recipe, I have lemons cut up on the cutting board, chicken paillard sizzling away in butter in the frying pan, and my risotto in the red kettle.  Oh, and I thought Alicia Keyes was appropriate for this evening!  I still remember the first time I heard "Falling" on MTV...back when they used to play music.

 The chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper and fried up with butter and EVOO.

My assistant chef, looking kind of like a begging puppy...

My lemon-butter sauce - I elected to add a little flour to to thicken it up.  I see grown-ups do that on Thanksgiving...I took a chance and strayed from Martha's recipe, but it paid off!

Delicious cheese risotto.  Not the best picture, but it really is YUM-O!

Note the Martha Stewart spatula that was a wedding present?!  I'm channeling you as best I can, Martha!

Assistant Chef, keeping a close eye on her favorite part of the meal...THE BREAD!  But she held still just long enough to take a picture with mom.

 Here we go, the money shot!  My lemon butter chicken paillard!  We'll see if it tastes as good as it looks...

My hubby set the table and poured me a glass of Jackson Kendall Chardonnay - it's a favorite for a silly reason!

 Grace can hardly wait to get her mits on some delicious dinner!  I wish I had time for a picture after dinner...she was covered head-to-toe in risotto!  It was definitely a straight-to-the-tub night!

So, here is what Martha shows the chicken paillard should look like:

And here is what mine looked like:

I think that's a pretty successful first run at a recipe!  Stay tuned for more adventures in the kitchen!

Grace's Mom

How to Prepare Chicken Paillard

Chicken Paillards with Lemon-Butter Sauce

Kendall Jackson Wines


  1. Well, Thank you for stopping by my blog. I love to meet new mommy bloggers here in the wonderful world of INTERNET. ITs amazing, isn't it. I am now a foloower of your blog! Yippie! So you are wondering about a recipe.. Well Just for you, I will post it. Go ahead and follow my blog for the updated recipe. Look forward to hearing from you again and again! Have a wonderful day!

  2. I think your sous chef is adorable!!!

    And my recipes almost NEVER look remotly like the photos so I'm quite impressed with how yours turned out.

    And thanks for your lovely comment on my book blog .. I'm glad to hear I was responsible for some new books on your wishlist! : )

  3. I think your's turned out great! Remember, Martha had "stagers" and "photographers" taking HER pictures! You got yours done and on the table hot! (With pictures for the blog..) I'm sure her's was cold...