lemon chicken fail

…okay, it wasn’t exactly a failure, but it wasn’t entirely delicious either.

We made dinner for some good friends yesterday. Bringing dinner is a great excuse to meet a new baby. You get to feed the new parents and catch up on things, and they let you coo over the new arrival. (Who was, incidentally, adorable.)

Thinking that bright flavors would be welcome on a warm day, I made a recipe for lemon chicken that I’d been meaning to try, and accompanied it with lemon snap peas and curried apple couscous. Everything turned out well except the lemon sauce for the chicken, which was… interesting. The table gave the lemon chicken a resounding “it’s okay,” as in, “if I ordered it at a restaurant, I’d finish it, but I wouldn’t necessarily order it again.” The women seemed to like it more than the men. Fortunately we’d brought the sauce in a separate container, and our friends scrounged up some alternate sauces: barbecue sauce and a tiny bottle of habanero salsa.

Other than using boneless skinless breasts, I followed the recipe exactly. The chicken was moist and tasty (in part because K had put it in a brine all day), but the sauce was a disappointment. The blog entry accompanying the recipe calls the sauce “bright,” but I’d call it “sour.” The sourness from the lemon juice and the tang of the creme fraiche combined for a taste that had K shaking his head and saying, “Don’t make this for me again.” (K tells it like it is.)

The sauce wasn’t great by itself, but I found it was better when accompanied by the salt and pepper on the chicken. The new mother and I mopped up the lemon sauce with the chicken while the men made good use of the substitute sauces. The lemon snap peas were just quickly boiled and tossed with a bit of butter and some lemon zest, and the curried apple couscous was flavorful and tasty as always. The couscous is adapted from this recipe, in that I left out the pine nuts and mint, used vegetable stock in place of water, and used Israeli couscous instead of regular. I like the bigger grains.

The lemon chicken recipe wasn’t great, but it was easy. I would even make it again, if someday I find myself with lemons, creme fraiche, and chicken, and (most importantly) it’s a night when K has other dinner plans. Though next time, I’d use significantly less lemon juice in the sauce.