Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lemon Chicken

I know I have already said this but Sunday Dinner is my favorite part of the week.  No matter what kind of weekend I have had or what kind of week I have ahead of me, this is my time to sit down, be with my family and relax.  Sometimes we have friends join us, but sometimes it is just the 6 of us, Mom, Dad, Allen, Maggie, Emory and me.....and of course at least 4 dogs!  It is exactly what I need each week to keep centered, keep me smiling and keep me laughing.  We typically make something that takes a little more preparation than something we would make during the week simply because we have the time on Sunday afternoons.  Of course there is protocol.....Mom says there are some things that are just "not Sunday Dinner material" took us forever before she thought shrimp and grits was OK for Sunday Dinner...apparently that was something to be had at the beach, not in land-locked Nashville on a Sunday!  This week we decided on Lemon Chicken, Wild Mushroom Risotto and Green Beans....EXCELLENT!

Lemon Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sherry
4 teaspoons soy sauce
3 egg whites
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups corn, peanut or vegetable oil
Lemon sauce:
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
10 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
8 teaspoons corn starch
2 cups water
1 bunch scallions, white part only, finely minced
2 tablespoon corn, peanut or vegetable oil
2 tablespoon butter (optional)

Rinse chicken breasts and remove fat.  Detach small filet underneath each half and cut each breast in half.  
Marinade chicken in salt, pepper, sugar, soy sauce and sherry for about an hour.  Beat eggs whites until frothy. 
Put the cup of cornstarch in a medium size bowl.  Dip chicken, one piece at a time, into cornstarch, then into egg whites, then back into the cornstarch until each piece is well coated.  Sprinkle the tablespoon of cornstarch on baking sheet.  Place coated chicken in one layer on pan and refrigerate. 
This can be done far in advance if time allows. 

Heat 4 cups cooking oil to 375 degrees in a wok or sauce pan. 
Combine sauce ingredients in a medium size bowl.  When oil is hot, fry chicken a few pieces at a time (use a spatula to get the chicken off the pan otherwise the cornstarch will come off on the pan), until coating is set and chicken is done (it typically floats to the top when the chicken is done), 3 to 5 minutes.    I usually flip it in the oil halfway through cooking to make sure it cooks evenly. 
Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  For crispier chicken fry twice, but do not fully cook the first time.  Keep chicken warm in a preheated 200 degree oven. 
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan.  Add scallions and cook for 30 seconds. 
Stir lemon sauce mixture thoroughly to recombine the cornstarch and add to the saucepan. 
Stir constantly until sauce thickens and flows easily off a spoon.  Add butter, if desired, and stir to combine.

Serve chicken hot with the sauce to pour over.
A little trick when you are pouring something hot into china is to add a silver spoon which will absorb the heat and prevent the china from cracking.
Their cozy little family of 6! 
Emory is ready for Sunday Dinner too!!!

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