Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Chicken in Lime Butter

There is a roadhouse diner in my area named the Spring Chicken Inn. It never was an Inn but that's what they named it in 1947 and the name has stuck.  Guess what their "Claim to Fame" is?  That's right.  Fried chicken.  They make wonderful, crispy fried chicken.  I love fried chicken, but the calorie count is a little too high for me.  And who wants to drag out the deep fryer?  I can't remember the last time I fried chicken.  Let's douse it in butter instead.  Just kidding, really!  You just need a bit of this flavorful sauce; that is if you can limit yourself to "just a bit".  And chicken breast is good for you.  Save calories on the protein and judiciously sauce it.

Spring is a busy time around my house.  Lots of yard clean-up, tilling the garden, planting (even if it's just peas), the lazy indoor activities of winter cease.  I need to get dinner on the table and it needs to be done quickly.   This chicken is fast, easy, and only takes four or five ingredients.  This main course recipe is based on one that I clipped from the newspaper in 1983 (yes, I know that dates me but I, myself, was just a spring chicken back then).  I think that the simplicity of this dish is exactly why it was the grand prize winner at the National Chicken Cook-off that year.  I think it was called Chicken in Lime Butter, and that's just what it is.  This chicken dish has been in my repretoire for many years.  Dress it up or dress it down.  Serve it with a few colorful sides or a beautiful green salad and a slice of crusty bread.  Make it for your family or serve it for a formal dinner party.  But whatever you do, just make it.  You'll be glad you did.

Chicken in Lime Butter
 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 Tab. butter
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 Tab. snipped fresh dill weed fronds
1/2 Tab. snipped chives

Melt some butter and oil in a saute' pan on medium-high heat.  Salt and pepper the chicken pieces.  Caramalize the chicken breasts on one side, about 4 minutes.  When the chicken has nice color, turn it over and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Let it cook until chicken is just cooked through, about 8 minutes more, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts.  You don't want to dry out the meat.  I use an instant read thermometer and cook it to 165 degrees.  Remove the chicken to a warm plate, loosely cover and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.  It will continue to cook a bit as it rests, so don't overcook it in the pan.

Now put the lime juice in the pan and cook on low, scraping to deglaze the pan and get the browned bits of chicken (aka the fond) off the bottom of the pan.  Let the juice cook just until all the bits are up.
Take the pan off the heat and add the butter and stir slowly until it is emulsified into the lime juice and just melted.  Don't let it boil or your pan sauce will separate.  Stir in the zest and the chopped herbs.  Hopefully, you will have lots of beautiful, flavorful, chicken bits floating in your sauce.

Put the chicken on a plate and just drizzle the sauce over and around.
Put the extra sauce in a bowl and pass on the side.


  1. This does sound easy and delicious. Do you ever use dried dill?

  2. Barbara, Good question. Dried herbs are certainly more convenient and sometimes more accessible. I did try using dried dill once, but it was not nearly as good. I wouldn't "not make" this dish if I didn't have fresh, but it really is so much fresher tasting. There are so few ingredients that the payoff for using fresh herbs is worth it to me. I grow them in the summer so that helps, but I do make this dish year round so I have to purchase them in winter.

  3. OH my goodness what a delicious sounding recipe and so easy too!