Just Good Food

by John Ryan


Tomato-Lemon Chicken

Serves 2


Not only is this an everyday osso buco without the veal, but it's a low calorie dish (note that you don't use oil to sauté the chicken or vegetables) and it's faster to prepare than the osso buco recipe that follows. When you have this one down, osso buco is a breeze.

You need about 45 minutes and a skillet with a lid.


1 medium onion
1 rib celery
1 small carrot
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 whole chicken breast (or 2 halves), boneless and skinless
1/2 cup flour
1 cup white wine
1 can diced tomatoes (approximately 15 ounces)
1 can water—use the tomato can
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 bay leaves
2-inch strip lemon peel, just the yellow part
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water


1. "Prep"
Finely dice the onion, carrot and celery and set them aside on a piece of wax paper. Mince the garlic and thyme leaves and set aside.

1a. I generally serve this with plain rice—1 cup for 2 people. I start it after the vegetables are chopped.

2. If the chicken breast is whole, cut the chicken breast into 2 halves. Dry the chicken pieces with paper towels while your pan gets hot. Press both sides of the chicken pieces in flour, shake off excess, and immediately lay them in the pan. (No, there is no oil in the pan.) Shake the pan and turn the chicken a few times until both sides are lightly browned, then set the chicken pieces aside. They will still be very raw.

3. Dump the diced onion, carrot and celery in the pan and stir. After a few minutes, a kind of stickiness will coat the bottom of the pan. Adjust your burner so this doesn't burn. When the onions begin to soften, add the garlic and thyme. Stir well, then add the wine. Let half of it boil away while you scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon.

4. Add the tomatoes, water, bouillon cube, bay leaves, lemon peel, and pepper. Let these simmer about 5 minutes to soften the carrots.

5. Nuzzle the chicken into the sauce, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes.

6. Take the chicken out and set on a platter. Mix the cornstarch and cold water in a small dish. Bring the sauce to a boil and pour the cornstarch slurry into the sauce. Stir. The sauce should thicken almost immediately. Let it simmer a couple minutes as you salt and pepper the sauce to taste.

7. Pour it over the chicken and serve.



1 bouillon cube = 1 cup chicken broth. If you are using canned or homemade broth use 1 cup of broth and 3/4 cup of water.

Cooking In a Dry Pan

Three things are important: (1) the chicken is dry, (2) the floured chicken is immediately put into (3) a hot pan. Chicken handled this way won't stick. But if the flour coating gets soggy, the chicken will stick like crazy.


Just Good Food


Just Good Food Archive


John Ryan

Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.


This page created October 1999