There are certain flavors that pair well with certain seasons. When I think Spring, I think fresh flavors like lemon and dill. This dinner is the perfect meal to kick off the Springiest month with. It’s easy to put together, and both the chicken dish and the pilaf call for a few of the same ingredients, so as you prep, make sure you prep enough for both…which will save you time in the long run.
First, I prepped everything. I had every lemon zested, every asparagus stalk cut into pieces, my dill minced, my garlic sliced, my green onions chopped, my chicken breasts pounded.
It’s amazing how smoothly dinner can fall into place if everything is as it should be before you actually start cooking. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I make sure dinner comes together easily. My two hard and fast rules are prep everything first, and read the entire recipe through to the end before you start cooking. Know what you’re dealing with before you dive in, and dinner becomes a lot easier to handle.
This becomes especially important when you’re working with two recipes at the same time, as I was here. Time is everything.
I started with the rice first, because I knew that the chicken would take about as long as the rice needed to cook. So…
I sautéed some sliced green onions in a bit of butter in a saucepan.
This was mainly the white/pale green parts of the green onions. I saved the greener bits for later. Once the onions had softened a bit, I added some white wine to the pan and let it reduce down by about half, before adding in some Basmati rice. Basmati is a fragrant long grain rice, oftentimes used in Asian cooking. It’s my favorite, and the perfect vehicle for this pilaf.
I stirred the rice in for a bit, until the remaining liquid sizzled away and the rice began to crackle. Then, I added in some chicken stock and a bit of lemon zest. I brought the rice to a boil, lowered the heat, popped the lid on and let it cook for fifteen minutes.
Now it was time for the chicken.
I dredged the pounded chicken breasts in a bit of flour and browned them on the stove top in a bit of olive oil, two pieces at a time.
I removed the chicken from the pan, and then deglazed the pan with more chicken stock and added in some lemon zest, scraping up all of the browned chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. I stirred in my asparagus and garlic, and then nestled the chicken breasts back into the pan, covered it, and let them cook for a few minutes longer, until the asparagus was tender, and the chicken was cooked through.
It was right about then when the rice finished up. I removed it from the heat, and let it sit for five minutes while I finished up my chicken.
Once the chicken was cooked through, I removed it from the pan, and finished the asparagus sauce off with some chopped fresh dill, lemon juice, and a few cubes of butter.
Before I served things up, I fluffed my rice with a fork, and stirred in the rest of the green onions and a little bit of lemon juice.
And then, we were ready to eat! Dinner was delicious, every little bit of it, and a beautiful way to welcome in our Springiest month.
CHICKEN WITH ASPARAGUS, LEMON, GARLIC, AND DILL WITH LEMONY SCALLION PILAF
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine
- For the Pilaf:
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced, greens kept separate from the white parts
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed and drained
- 1 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- For the Chicken:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded between two sheets of plastic wrap to 1/2-inch thickness
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 6 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 large lemon, zested to yield 1-2 tsp. lemon zest, and juiced to yield 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced
- 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
- Melt the butter in a 3-4 inch saucepan over medium heat. Add the white parts of the onions and cook until softened, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the wine and simmer until wine is reduced by half.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice begins to crackle.
- Add the chicken stock and lemon zest. Stir. Cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from the heat and allow to sit for five minutes, covered.
- Fluff the rice, and add the green parts of the onions and lemon juice before serving.
- Mix together the flour, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge two of the chicken pieces in the flour to lightly coat on both sides, shake off excess. Add the chicken to the pan. Cook, flipping once, until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining oil and chicken pieces.
- Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth and lemon zest, scraping up all of the browned bits into the sauce. Add the asparagus and garlic, and then nestle the chicken pieces down into the sauce, adding any accumulated chicken juices from the plate. Bring to a boil.
- Cover, and turn the heat down to maintain as simmer. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the asparagus is tender, 5-7 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter, lemon juice, and fresh dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the asparagus and garlic sauce over the chicken.