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Low-Carb Chicken Piccata (without flour)

This low-carb chicken piccata may be low on carbs but it is HIGH on flavor! My double reduction method makes for an extremely delicious and thick sauce without ever needing any flour!

Low Carb Chicken Piccata on a plate

An Italian Favorite

When I started working in the restaurant industry, I was always drawn to the Italian kitchens. The pasta, the gnocchi, the fried calamari and the always tender chicken dishes… they were always ALWAYS my favorite. However, the one that always stood out to us me was the chicken piccata.

Wait but what IS chicken piccata? Chicken piccata is thinly pounded chicken breasts that are pan seared and served with a glorious caper vermouth pan sauce. There are many variations of it…but capers and vermouth make this the classic hit that it is!

Why do I love it so? It may be because of my insane addiction to everything tart and delicious. Or because there is a super glorious and silky sauce clinging to every nook and cranny. Regardless… chicken piccata was and is my jam 🙂

There are a few steps in the classic version of chicken piccata that are NOT my jam:

  • Pounding out: Chicken piccata is made out of cutlets. Classic chicken cutlets are pounded out thinly by a mallet. I have zero desire to spend my precious time (don’t worry we got some fantastic short cuts)!
  • Dredging in Flour: Traditionally, the pounded chicken cutlets are also dredged (dipped) in flour to add thickness to the sauce and to give the chicken a browner finish. I have ways to avoid this that will allow us to still caramelize the chicken gloriously and give the sauce thickness. Plus so very many of my low-carb/keto clients were asking for a keto/low carb version of their favorite chicken.
Low Carb Chicken Piccata with the sauce being spooned

The Technique

  • Thin Cutlets: As I mentioned chicken piccata is made with thin chicken cutlets that usually have been pounded out. However, I do not have the time to pound them out and frankly I can get them almost as thin with minimal effort. For starters, almost any grocery store has “thinly sliced chicken breasts”. You can also ask the butcher to slice them for you, I have never come across a store that will not do it for you, especially a REAL butcher. Just ask them! Otherwise, just buy regular chicken breasts and slice them in half. Most should only be able to slice it in half. However there are some gigantic ones that you can slice into 3-4 slices even. So what IS the purpose of slicing these chicken breasts so thin for our Low Carb Chicken Piccata? Well we slice the chicken in half not only for the speedier cooking purposes but also because it allows the chicken to get more flavor and color. Remember the thinner a piece of meat is, the faster it will cook but also the more flavor it absorbs…and flavor is always good my friends.
  • Dredging Vs No Dredging: Traditionally, anything with a chicken cutlet, like a piccata, marsala or limon has a flour dusting on it which is called dredging. It is believed that the flour gives the chicken a bit of crunchy crust and a golden brown color. It also thickens up the sauce slightly. The belief is correct…however when I was creating this low carb chicken piccata I knew the flour had to go. So I go rid of the flour and instead added in a tad of butter when I was sautéing the chicken. Why? Well because the butter not only gives us a glorious golden brown crust…but also tons of flavor! Now you can also sub out the flour and use almond flour or cassava flour instead if you really wanted to. But word of warning with any NUT flours…they BURN and they burn fast. SO be very very careful. Truthfully you REALLY won’t need it. So save the calories for the butter instead 🙂
Chicken being sauteed
Who needs flour when butter gets us this glorious color and flavor!
  • Vermouth: One of the signature ingredients in a chicken piccata is vermouth. Vermouth is a fortified wine that is flavored with a variety of herbs and spices. There is both sweet and dry vermouth, we will be using dry vermouth. It gives this low carb chicken piccata that something something in the background. If for some reason you do not have vermouth and would like to make this incredibly tasty chicken dinner, just go and use a nice dry white wine.
  • Aromatics: What I love about this recipe is how few aromatics it takes to make this dish taste delicious! All we use is shallots, lemon, vermouth, capers (more on these later) and some parsley to finish the dish. Minimal ingredients with maximum punch?! YES please!
  • Double Reduction: Remember how I mentioned that this chicken has as much flavor as the original even without the flour? Well the key is the technique I discovered accidentally while making my chicken marsala. I reduce my sauce TWICE.  Yes twice.  I first add some vermouth to the pan when I add the shallots and let it simmer.  Why?  Because then the shallots soak up all that glorious wine.  Once the shallots look how I want them to look I add the second shot of wine along with the chicken broth and then we add our chicken in. This truly adds a ton of flavor to the chicken and it pics up all those itty bitty brown pieces from the bottom of the pan! YAS!
  • The Lemons: The lemons not only add a ton of flavor but I have this little trick where I leave them in the pan after removing the chicken and the sauce… and just charring them on high heat. They give off such a gorgeous color and really elevate the elegance of this low carb chicken piccata!

a collage of steps for chicken piccata

Side Dishes

So what can we serve this with? I personally love serving it with something that soaks up the saucy goodness! Since we are low carbing this meal… I love my creamy better than mashed cauliflower or as a classic Italian side feel free to do my garlicky spinach! Or if you want to carb it up… go ahead and do my creamy dreamy mashed potatoes . All of these always do the trick. But most importantly don’t forget to mop up all that glorious sauce with the chicken.

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Low Carb Chicken Piccata on a plate - Girl and the Kitchen

Low-Carb Chicken Piccata (without flour)


  • Author: Mila
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This low-carb chicken piccata may be low on carbs but it is HIGH on flavor! My double reduction method makes for an extremely delicious and thick sauce without ever needing any flour!


Ingredients

Scale

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut in Half then Butterflied

34 Tablespoons Olive Oil for Frying

2 Tablespoons Butter, for Flavor

1 Shallot Finely Diced or Run Through a Food Processor

 Juice and Zest of One Lemon

1 Cups Dry Vermouth, Divided 

1/2 Cup Chicken Stock 

1/4 Cup Brined Capers, Drained

1/3 Cup, Chopped Parsley

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Sliced Lemons for Garnish

Corn Starch Slurry (optional)*


Instructions

  1. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Place olive oil in a pan and heat to medium-high heat.
  3. Place chicken breasts into the pan, making sure to not crowd the pan.  Allow to sear for 2-3 minutes on the first side and about 1-2 minutes on the second side.  We are looking for color here.
  4. Remove the chicken and set aside.  Reduce heat and add in butter and shallots.  Allow to sweat for a few minutes.
  5. Add in half the vermouth and allow to reduce by half. Then add in the remainder of the vermouth and the capers and allow to reduce by half again.  
  6. Add the chicken back in, pour in the chicken stock, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Stir and taste.
  7. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Garnish with parsley! 
  8. Remove the chicken and the sauce.  Place the lemons in the pan and sautee until beautifully charred and use as a garnish!

Notes

  • A Slurry is a combination of a thickening agent (corn starch in this case) and any COLD liquid.  Can be stock, wine or water.  The slurry will only thicken in BOILING liquid.  So make sure that you add it to the sauce at the end when it is boiling so that you can actually see how it thickens.  Otherwise you can end up with a huge glob of a mess.
  • Be careful with the salt in this recipe!  The capers are very salty on their own! So be careful when seasoning the chicken and the sauce.  TASTE TASTE TASTE!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: chicken, Italian chicken, piccata, healthy recipes, techniques, double reduction

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