Healthy Chicken Piccata
This Chicken Piccata is going to quickly become your new go-to recipe. It’s simple, healthy, and delicious… and it makes for some awesome leftovers.
Chicken Piccata. Even just the name reminds me of my past. I remember going to old-school Italian restaurants with my family and my favorite thing to order was chicken piccata. But Healthy Chicken Piccata was never a thing. Who knows what ingredients and preparations they used to get it to taste so amazingly delicious… but it definitely wasn’t anything akin to healthy.
I kind of miss those old red-sauce places. You know the ones — they had plastic red and white checkered tablecloths with centerpieces that were made from old wine bottles with candles and all the wax dripped down the sides and hardened. Here in Manhattan there are some of these places left, but you really have to search hard for them.
Calling all of my New York City people: if you know of any of these awesome Italian restaurants, please let me know — I would love to try them. Just being in this environment and smelling all of the amazing aromas coming from some of these grandma-run kitchens, puts me in a good mood and de-stresses me.
A good chicken piccata needs to be lemony and a little buttery. The chicken needs to have a tasty coating and there should be lots of capers all around. And it needs to be cozy, warming, and comforting. This recipe accomplishes all of that while still keeping it healthy. And OMG, it is so good!
And, I have to tell you, this kind of comfort food can be really de-stressing.
Speaking of reducing stress (which… I mean, who isn’t trying to do this?), if you haven’t already done so, you can download my free ebook all about how to use foods to reduce your stress.
Keep scrolling for the recipe… but I feel the need to tell you here that capers are one of the foods that can stimulate the happiness center of your brain and can help with your stress levels!
Here are some of the great healing ingredients in this recipe for Healthy Chicken Piccata:
Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….
Lemon peels contain calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Lemons are good for your stomach, they help detoxify your body, they balance your pH and they act as an antibacterial. If you have a sore throat or a cough, go for lemons to make things better. Lemons are great for quenching your thirst, and, in China, many years ago, hypertension was treated by drinking tea made from lemon peels. This recipe uses zested lemon peel and lemon juice. This recipe uses both the juice and the zest.
Chicken is something I push people to buy organic if possible. Organic chicken is a great, healthy protein to give you energy, lessen the pain of some types of arthritis, and boost your system when you are particularly weak — like after surgery or childbirth. People who have some conditions that we consider “excess heat” conditions should limit the amount of chicken they eat. So, if you have an illness that gives you a bright red tongue or severe dryness in your body, check with your doctor first. For example, if you have a lot of burning stomach acid, you should avoid chicken for awhile…
Capers, although small in size, are a big source of anti-oxidants, and they actually can make you feel better emotionally because they activate the “happiness” center of your brain.
Ghee is one of the best fats to cook with. Ghee is a clarified butter that has had the milk solids removed and it is lactose free. And, it has the delicious taste of butter. It has a high smoking point, and it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. I recommend buying organic ghee if possible. Ghee contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease.
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- salt and pepper
- 1-1/2 cups flour of your choice (I used sprouted quinoa flour because that's what I had on hand, but you can use tapioca flour, rice flour, or any non-sweet flour)
- 2 Tbs dried minced onion flakes
- ¼ cup ghee (you may not need this much, but have it on hand)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (you may not need this much, but have it on hand)
- juice and zest of 1 large lemon
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 Tbs capers
- 1-1/4 cups chicken stock or bone broth
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Put the flour in a shallow pie plate. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper and the dried minced onion flakes. Stir to combine.
- Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture so that it's well coated on all sides.
- Heat 2 Tbs of ghee and 2 Tbs of oil in a large pan over med heat. When hot, add the chicken and let brown on one side, then flip and brown on the other side, about 5-mins per side. Then, cover, reduce heat, and let cook for another few minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the cooked chicken to a plate -- you may have to repeat with any remaining chicken.
- When all of the chicken is cooked and removed from the pan, add the shallot and garlic to the drippings in the pan and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- Add the capers, lemon juice and zest to the pan. Now add the broth. Simmer for about 5 mins or until the sauce is reduced a bit.
- Stir in 1 or 2 Tbs of ghee and let simmer 1 min.
- Add the chicken back into the pan, sprinkle parsley on top, and serve it right in the pan.