August 16, 2011

Chicken Breasts with Creamy Lime Sauce

I've been on a bit of a Mexican kick of late, ever since we discovered a Mexican restaurant in Des Moines that we really like (I'll talk more about the restaurant in another post).  Having already made Beef Tacos, I decided my next Mexican dish would use chicken.

I considered grilling up some chicken with Mexican seasonings - I've got a recipe somewhere for grilled Tequila-Lime Chicken that I'm really wanting to try out one of these days - but I decided instead to cook the chicken breasts in a skillet and serve them with a flavorful pan sauce.  I skipped the tequila but decided to stick with the lime, and I built the recipe up from there. 

The result was, quite frankly, superb.  The chicken breasts were nicely flavored due to the slightly spicy coating, and the fragrant lime and cream sauce was tangy and pleasantly acidic.  The two combined made for a delightful mix of flavors in every bit.

I served the chicken atop a bed of Mexican Rice, along with some fresh sliced tomatoes from one of the area farmer's markets.   I made more rice than I needed to serve with the chicken, because I had an idea what to do with the leftover rice for another meal.   More on that in another post.  In any case, the flavorful, spicy rice complemented the chicken quite well.  Together, these dishes made for a great Mexican-themed meal.

Chicken Breasts with Creamy Lime Sauce

yield = 4 servings

2                teaspoons cornstarch
2                teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 1/2          teaspoons garlic powder
1                teaspoon ground cumin
1/2             teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2             teaspoon onion powder
1/2             teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2             teaspoon table salt
2/3             cup all-purpose flour
4                boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2                tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3             cup low-sodium chicken broth
5                green onions, trimmed and thinly-sliced
2                teaspoons agave nectar (or sugar)
1/4             cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4             cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine the cornstarch with two teaspoons water in a small bowl.  Mix to dissolve the cornstarch, then set aside.

Mix the paprika, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne, onion powder, black pepper and salt in a small bowl.  Measure out one teaspoon of the mixture and set aside.   Mix the rest of the spice mixture with the flour in a large, flat dish or pie plate.   Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture to coat it thoroughly, shaking off excess flour mixture. 

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook 5 minutes, then turn and cook another 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels and cover or put in warm (200 degrees) oven to keep warm.

Add the green onions to the pan and cook until they soften and start to brown.  Add the chicken broth and agave nectar and stir to combine (or to dissolve sugar, if using that in place of agave nectar).  Scrape the bottom of the pan with the side of a wooden spoon to loosen cooked-on bits.  Stir in the heavy cream and cilantro and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is reduced by 1/2.  Stir the cornstarch mixture, then stir it into the sauce.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. 

Arrange the chicken breasts on a serving platter.  Top with sauce and serve. 

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