This lemon chicken with sauteed greens made with fresh chard, leek, bacon, and garlic, is a light and healthy dinner idea for summer.
Summer in the kitchen is strange. On one hand, there is so much inspiration with all the fresh produce available – fresh berries, crisp lettuces, sweet corn, juicy peaches, and tomatoes for days – it’s hard to not fill up a cart with everything the summer offers. On the other hand, when ingredients are this fresh and delicious they often don’t need much handling to turn them into dinner. This poses a problem for new recipes this time of year because most days I’m making and eating meals so simple it seems silly to type them up and share them here. Most of what I’m making can be explained in just a few words: toasted bagels with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, creamy ricotta scrambled eggs speckled with fresh herbs, and roasted zucchini tossed with lemon, olive oil, and pasta are a few meals rotating through the week. Like I said, it’s simple stuff.
I’ve been making other things, too, but the recipes aren’t new. They’re dinner ideas from summers’ past that I’ve trotted out to enjoy again. My photography skills have improved over the years and – because we eat with our eyes first – I’ve given a second life to some old favorites by making them again and snapping new pictures. Roasted garlic pesto, a simple tomato sauce, bacon cheeseburgers with green chile mayo, and an easy chicken salad sandwich are a few that have gotten a little make-over. All of them are great summer dinner ideas.
But last week, sometime after the roasted garlic pesto update and before the chicken salad redo, I pulled out a couple pans to do some “real” cooking and made this lemon chicken with sauteed greens.
Lemon Chicken with Sauteed Greens
Inspired by a recipe for sauteed greens I found on Epicurious, I started with a big pile of fresh chard. A pile so big I wondered if it was too much. Surely, after it cooked down, I’d have way more than I needed for two servings, but as is the way with greens, after ten minutes or so on the stove they wilted down to a reasonable amount. But, before I added the chard to the pan, I sauteed a little bacon, fresh leek, and garlic to give the chard a bit more flavor. A squeeze of fresh lemon at the end finished it off.
And with it on the plate are slices of grilled chicken breasts first marinated in a simple lemon marinade. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are my go-to in the summer because they cook fast on the stove and go with pretty much everything. Cook a couple extra for the chicken salad sandwiches I mentioned earlier and lunch is handled for a couple of days.
This lemon chicken with sauteed greens dish is my kind of summer cooking.
Happy mid-summer, friends.
More Chicken Recipes
A fresh and light dinner idea perfect for a warm summer night. Prep the chicken and salsa ahead of time (up to eight hours for both) and when it’s time to grill it all comes together in less than 15 minutes.
Roasted tomatillos, onion, and garlic pureed to make a silky pasta sauce. This tomatillo chicken pasta is a delicious way to shake-up your pasta-for-dinner night this week.
Juicy boneless skinless chicken breasts with a crispy oven-baked breadcrumb coating. This breaded baked chicken is a weeknight go-to favorite.
Fresh chard is a great cooking green, but it has a bit of a chew so be sure to chop it into small pieces. Spinach is a bit more tender and works well here, too, so feel free to substitute if you prefer.
For the Chicken Breasts
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon, plus 1 teaspoon zest
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1/2 pound total), pounded to an even thickness
- Black pepper
For the Greens
- 1 slice thick cut bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 large leek (white and tender green parts), sliced (see note)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 pound fresh chard (2 bunches), ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- juice from 1 lemon
- Marinate the chicken: the lemon zest, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, juice, salt and chicken in a resealable bag. Squish it around to coat the chicken and let it marinate while the greens cook.
- Cook the greens: Cook the bacon over medium heat in a large pot. Once it’s rendered it’s fat, add the sliced leek. Cook the leek for a minute or so in the bacon fat. Add the garlic and chard (depending on the size of your pot you may need to add the chard in batches). Let the greens cook, stirring frequently until the chard is wilted and cooked down. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep an eye on the greens while you grill the chicken.
- Cook the chicken: Heat the other 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a separate skillet. Add the marinated chicken and cook for about five minutes on both sides, or until cooked through (internal temperature should be 165 degrees). Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and season with black pepper. While the chicken rests, finish the greens. Add the fresh lemon juice to the greens and stir. Serve with the chicken.
Leeks can be a little gritty, so be sure to slice it open and rinse the layers to remove any grit that might be hiding inside.
- Calories: 304
- Fat: 16g
- Carbohydrates: 11.8g
- Fiber: 2.7g
- Protein: 30.2g