Simple Chicken Française Recipe

Although chicken française has an undeniably French name, the dish can be traced back to its Italian-American roots in Rochester, New York (via MasterClass). Origin stories aside, this classic preparation highlights a handful of basic yet key ingredients, which instantly turns chicken breast into a dazzling meal. If you're tired of the same old preparation, this flavor-packed meal should be next in line on your dinner menu.

Recipe developer Molly Pisula of Vanilla Bean Cuisine put together this simple chicken française recipe that will be on the table within 45 minutes. She shares, "What I like most about this dish is definitely the sauce. It's savory and tangy, and really elevates the simple pan-fried chicken breasts in this recipe." Whether you're cooking for yourself, family, or are hosting a dinner party, this recipe is straightforward enough to avoid potential disasters, yet delicious and suitably impressive to wow your guests.  

Gather the ingredients for this simple chicken française recipe

You'll need boneless and skinless chicken breasts, flour, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, eggs, and olive oil. For the sauce, you'll need a lemon, chicken broth, white wine, butter, and some chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish.

Pisula offers a few tips to modify the ingredients: "For a slightly faster version of this recipe, you can use the pre-sliced chicken cutlets you can find at the grocery store, rather than pounding regular chicken breasts." Meanwhile, if you prefer not to cook with wine, simply swap it out with equal parts chicken broth. 

Pisula explains, "I prefer a low-sodium chicken broth so that you can control the salt content of the final dish, adding the seasoning you need after tasting the sauce." Similarly, she notes, "I'd recommend unsalted butter for this dish." Of course, if you like your food salty, you can adjust accordingly. 

Prep the lemon

Begin by prepping the lemon so that it is ready by the time you make the sauce. Rinse it properly, then zest one-half, setting the zest aside in a small bowl. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze out the juice from the zested half. Measure out 1 ½ tablespoons of juice, and set it aside. Finally, thinly slice the other lemon half, and set that aside too.

Pound the chicken breasts

If you opted for pre-sliced chicken cutlets, you can skip this step. Otherwise, tear off a large piece of plastic wrap, and drape it over a cutting board. Place a chicken breast on one side of the plastic, and fold the rest of it over top. There should be plastic both under and over the chicken. Pound the breast with a meat mallet until it has a uniform thickness — Pisula recommends about ⅓ inch. Once you've flattened the chicken, set it aside, and repeat the process with the remaining pieces.

Coat the chicken in egg and flour

Set out a large plate, and a wide, shallow bowl. Add ½ cup of flour to the plate, and mix in the salt and pepper. Then, crack the eggs into the bowl, and whisk them properly. One by one, dip the chicken breasts first into the egg, and then into the flour to coat both sides. 

Sautée the chicken breasts

Heat about half of the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, and place 2 chicken breasts into the pan. Sautée the chicken on one side for around 5 minutes, until the bottom starts to darken in color. Then, flip the chicken, and cook the other side for about 4 minutes until it is cooked through. Pisula comments, "If you are concerned about whether your chicken is cooked through, you can test it using an instant thermometer," specifying, "Chicken should be cooked to 165 F." 

Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate, and cover it with foil to keep it warm. Then, pour the rest of the olive oil into the skillet, and cook the remaining 2 chicken breasts following the same steps. 

Make the sauce

In a small bowl, whisk ½ tablespoon of flour with the chicken broth until it is dissolved. Pisula notes that this simple trick "gives you a velvety, creamy sauce that hugs the crannies of the pan-fried chicken cutlets." Pour the white wine into the same skillet you used to cook the chicken, simmering for 5 seconds. Pisula explains, "You're getting a ton of flavor from what is left at the bottom of the pan after the chicken breasts are out," so avoid rinsing it before. 

Then, add the chicken broth mixture, butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and mix. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes so that it thickens. Pisula recommends keeping a close eye on the pan, and adjusting the temperature if necessary. "If you don't simmer it enough, it won't reduce, and so [it] will be a more watery sauce; if you simmer too hard or really boil it, it will reduce so quickly that you don't have any sauce left." Once it reaches the desired consistency, taste the sauce and season it with salt and pepper if necessary.

Simmer everything together and serve

Add the chicken breasts back into the pan with the sauce. For more flavor, Pisula shares, "I like to add in whatever pan juices have accumulated on the plate where the chicken breasts have been resting." Toss in the lemon slices and half of the chopped parsley, then simmer the contents for another 2 minutes.

Serve the chicken with extra sauce, and a sprinkling of fresh parsley. Pisula comments, "Since this is a classic Italian-American dish, I like to serve this with buttery pasta on the side, but other delicious side dishes would be mashed or roasted potatoes or rice." To finish it off, she notes, "And of course, add a green vegetable too, like green beans, broccoli, or peas." If you have any leftovers, refrigerate them in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Simple Chicken Française Recipe
4.9 from 13 ratings
Forget chicken piccata — this simple chicken française recipe will become a classic weeknight favorite.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
4
servings
closeup chicken and lemon sauce
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.75 pounds)
  • ½ cup, plus ½ tablespoon flour, divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, to garnish
Directions
  1. Zest ½ the lemon, and set the zest aside for later. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze the zested lemon half, and measure out 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice. Thinly, slice the remaining lemon half.
  2. One by one, place the chicken breasts on one side of a large sheet of plastic wrap, and fold the other side over top. Pound it with a meat mallet until the chicken breast is a uniform thickness, about ⅓-inch thick.
  3. Mix ½ cup of flour with the salt and pepper on a large plate. Crack the eggs into a wide, shallow bowl, and whisk well with a fork.
  4. Dip the chicken breasts first into the egg, then into the flour mixture to coat.
  5. Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, then add 2 chicken breasts. Sautée until lightly browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 4 minutes or so, until the other side is lightly browned and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and set them aside, covering them with foil to keep warm. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet, then repeat the cooking process with the other 2 chicken breasts.
  7. Whisk ½ tablespoon of flour into the chicken broth until dissolved. Add the white wine to the pan, and let it simmer for 5 seconds. Add the chicken broth, butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the pan.
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly. Taste and season it with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  9. Add the chicken breasts back to the pan, along with the lemon slices and half of the parsley, and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the extra sauce over the chicken, and garnish with the remaining parsley to serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 502
Total Fat 29.7 g
Saturated Fat 10.7 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 257.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 4.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 1.6 g
Sodium 444.2 mg
Protein 49.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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