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story.lead_photo.caption Chicken Cutlets with Artichokes and Lemon-Thyme Sauce (For The Washington Post/Laura Chase de Formigny)

Sometimes stretching an ingredient — making it feed four instead of two — can be detrimental to a dish, but on rare occasions, it can actually make it better. Case in point: Pan-fried chicken breasts.

The breast is not my favorite part of the bird — that would be the thighs — but when I find the cut on sale, I pick them up because they are versatile, filling and easily adaptable to different seasoning blends and cooking methods.

This dish comes together quickly, especially if you can find thin chicken cutlets at your grocery store. The bit of cream brings the artichoke hearts and thyme together for a satisfying sauce.

A chicken cutlet is a chicken breast sliced in half and, if necessary, pounded to an even thickness. If you can't find cutlets at your grocery, make your own. Use a sharp knife to cut horizontally through each breast so the meat opens like a book; separate the halves. If desired, place each cutlet between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper. Then, using a meat tenderizer or small, heavy skillet, pound each cutlet until they are about ¼-inch thick. Trim away any fat or sinew, if desired, and proceed with the recipe.

To keep the chicken warm while making the sauce, heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, lightly cover with foil and place in the oven until ready to serve.

Serve with a steamed green vegetable, such as broccoli.

Leftover chicken can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.

Chicken Cutlets With Artichokes and Lemon-Thyme Sauce

  • For the chicken:
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 chicken cutlets (about 1 pound total)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • For the sauce:
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup no-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 tablespoon lightly chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated parmesan, for serving (optional)

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, cumin, onion powder, thyme, if using, salt and pepper. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Then, lightly coat the chicken in the seasoned flour.

When you're almost done coating the chicken, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until just shimmering.

Shake off any excess flour and lay the chicken cutlets flat in the hot pan, in batches if necessary, without crowding the pan. Sear, flipping once halfway, until cooked through and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes total. If cooking the chicken in batches, add oil to the pan as necessary.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and loosely cover with the foil to keep warm.

Add the broth to the pan, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Continue to cook until reduced by a third, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cream mixture and cook, whisking until thickened, about 1 minute.

Add the artichokes and fresh thyme and cook about 1 more minute. If the sauce is too thick, add broth, 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste the sauce, and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

To serve, spoon the sauce over each chicken cutlet and garnish with additional fresh thyme leaves and parmesan, if using.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 276 calories, 30 g protein, 9 g fat, 18 g carbohydrate (2 g sugar), 93 mg cholesterol, 576 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.

Recipe adapted from Eatingwell.com

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