Jul 8, 2012

Lemon Brown Sugar Baked Chicken

Over the past few months, Sundays slowly became our baked chicken and rice days. Despite it being the weekend and therefore, theoretically having more time to spend in the kitchen to put together a more complicated dinner, that’s not really how it ever works. During the school year, my Sundays are usually spent entirely in front of my desk and computer, reading, writing, reading and more writing. In between there, we usually try to clean the house, do laundry, and other similar house chores. By the time dinner rolls around, I’m usually craving a simple meal that has what I like to call the “homey” factor to it. Perhaps it’s because Mom’s crumb chicken always held that place for me growing up, but any meal that includes baked chicken and rice is an automatic comfort meal for me! It’s the perfect way to end one week and get ready for the next!

Here’s what you’ll need:


(Adapted from Eat, Live, Run. Serves 2.)

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • splash of white wine
  • small tab of butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 inch square baking dish with tinfoil and set to the side.

Between two pieces of plastic wrap, pound the chicken breasts just a bit. You want to make them a tad bit thinner and this will help them cook faster and it tenderizes the chicken. In a flat dish or plate, combine the flour, paprika and kosher salt.

Take each chicken breast and coat it with the flour and paprika mixture. The coating on the chicken will be light but will add the perfect amount of crispiness to each bite when it’s done! And the paprika adds that hint of smokiness that will balance well with the lemon that you’ll add later.

With the chicken coated, heat the oil in a large skillet and add the chicken breasts. Let the chicken cook for a few minutes on each side (no more than 4 or 5) and this will allow the chicken to brown on each side. You’re not trying to cook the chicken all the way through so don’t leave things on there for too long! Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to your prepared baking dish. Using the same pan, pour in the lemon juice with a splash of white wine and the tab of butter. This will all help to deglaze the pan. Stir things around and then pour the juice over your chicken in the baking dish. Sprinkle the brown sugar and the lemon zest on top of each chicken breast.

The brown sugar is going to slowly melt and add a¬†caramelization to the top of each chicken breast! If you’re worried that it might be too sweet, don’t be! The lemon zest combined with the slight sweetness will be fantastic!

Pop the baking dish in the oven and let the chicken bake for about 30 minutes. You can pair this chicken with a variety of sides but I opted for rice baked in the oven and broccoli roasted in the oven. See there, the whole meal is put in the oven and it makes the meal SO simple! To bake the rice, I just put 3/4 cup of jasmine rice in a glass bread baking dish with 1 1/2 cup of water, a little salt and pepper, and a few small tabs of butter. Cover the dish with tinfoil and cook for about 25-30 minutes. The broccoli is just as simple. Just toss the¬†florets with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and garlic powder if you want. Spread that out on a lined baking sheet and cook for about 7-10 minutes. In about 40 minutes you can have dinner on the table and half your dishes are done because all the baking dishes are lined with tinfoil! As simple as this meal is, I do think it would be a great way to serve chicken when you have guests over. The flavors are bright with the lemon zest and by pouring over the lemon juice and white wine, the chicken stays incredibly moist while baking! I think that’s sometimes hard to achieve with baked chicken and especially with a boneless chicken breast! So the next time you are looking for an easy but “homey” meal, try this one out! For now, that’s lemon brown sugar baked chicken…in the shell of a nut!


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