Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lemon Chicken and Fresh Spinach

I never liked spinach when I was a kid. I dreaded nights when that was our vegetable because I knew it meant I was going to sit at the table for a long, long time. My mom wasn't very lenient. She didn't say, "Fine, but no dessert." (Actually, dessert was a treat we only occasionally had anyway so that wouldn't have really worked.) She just made us sit there and stare at it. And if cooked frozen spinach was bad warm, it was infinitely worse cold.

It wasn't until college, that I realized that spinach could actually be quite good, if it was fresh. But still wary of anything cooked, I didn't try to cook the fresh spinach until about a year ago. Of course now my mom doesn't really use frozen spinach (my younger brothers have it so easy). And we both buy ridiculously large boxes of organic spinach from Costco, so no matter how much spinach salad I eat, sooner or later, I have to start cooking it. And now I can eat my whole serving no problem, before it even gets cold.

This is really more of an idea for a fast week night meal than it is a recipe, but I did try to measure everything. I served it with whole wheat couscous on the side, which I did make in a separate pot, but on second thought you could really just add the extra chicken broth to the lemon sauce and cook the couscous right in there as well. A one pot meal that doesn't look like it. I'm sneaky like that. Also, this is my favorite way to eat cooked spinach. Good luck serving it to kids.

Lemon Chicken and Fresh Spinach
Serves 2, easily multiplied

2 chicken breasts, butterflied if they are very thick
flour for dredging
3 tbs. butter (I use Smart Balance spread, which is not really butter but not really margarine either)
2 tbs. olive oil
juice from two large lemons (this should yield between 1/3 and 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chicken broth, plus extra needed for couscous if adding
several large handfuls of fresh spinach

-Heat a large skillet on moderate-high heat ith the butter and the olive oil.
-While it is heating, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour.
-Brown the chicken breasts on both sides in the skillet. When both sides are browned, remove from the skillet and set on paper towels.
-Add the lemon juice and chicken broth to the skillet and bring it to a simmer.
-Put the chicken breasts back into the pot, and simmer for about 5 minutes, turning often so they absorb some of the juices.
-Slide the chicken breasts to the side of the skillet (or remove to a plate if you don't have enough room) and cook the spinach in the lemon sauce. This should only take a few minutes. Cook just until slightly wilted.

NOTE: To cook the couscous in the same pot, remove the chicken breasts after they have simmered in the lemon sauce for five minutes. Add the additional chicken stock and bring up to a boil. Toss in the couscous and stir until it is cooked. This only takes a few minutes. Remove the cous cous with a spoon, and cook the spinach in the remaining juices.


Anonymous said...

YUM! I lover spinach, but you are right about frozen - gag! And seriously, it's a running family joke that all I cook is lemon chicken and chicken with lemon. So you KNOW this is a winner in my book! :)

Joe and MK said...

Just made this for dinner- it was a success! Joe loooved it! Thanks!

Carrie said...

This looks great... You may have just inspired me to cook something!

muddywaters said...

You've inspired me. I'm going to try to incorporate spinach into more of my cooking. I currently use it a lot in salads or dips, but for some reason, I rarely cook it.

I used it in a stir fry last night, but I want to use it more as a side.