This delicious chicken is smothered in a creamy caper sauce. Between the super creamy caper sauce, and the amazing dry rub, this chicken is PACKED with flavor (hello lemon pepper and dill!) You’ll be wanting more and more. And bonus, of course it’s SO EASY to make!
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Creamy Caper Sauce
This super creamy thick sauce packed with capers, lemon zest, and chicken stock covers these chicken thighs like a blanket of deliciousness. Trust me, you gotta try this one! But the creamy caper sauce is not the only star of this show. That dry rub on the chicken is a game changer. Without the dry rub, this chicken would be bland and flavorless! You always have to make sure to SMOTHER chicken in herbs and spices, I mean, how could that be a bad thing, right?!
The dry rub consists of lemon pepper, dill, granulated garlic, salt and pepper. It’s really that easy! After I trimmed all the fat and extra skin off my chicken thighs, I really went heavy on the dry rub. I mean, the more the merrier right? Does that still apply when you are talking about chicken? I think so!
And the benefit of browning the chicken? Well there’s more than one, like that little extra crisp is to die for when the dish is finished. But any rub that comes off of the chicken in the browning process, well now it’s part of the the sauce! Not like this chicken or creamy caper sauce needs any help, but the leftover dill and lemon pepper certainly do not hurt! (Always scrape the brown bits of the bottom of the pan after browning your meat, the flavor is phenomenal!)
Creamy Caper Sauce: Trial and Error (Lots of Error…)
This is one of the those recipes that took me a while in development. First time, the sauce is not as thick as it should be. Second time, the sauce is WAY too thick and then not nearly enough to go around. And on and on we go until finally the perfect chicken, the perfect flavor, and the the perfect creamy caper sauce. Tested over and over again until the Happy Stirring taste testers (my parents lol) were begging me to move on and come back to this. To be fair, sometimes they do be eating the same thing week in and week out, especially if I can’t quite get it right.
But that’s what food blogging is all about, testing and re-testing until something is perfect! I could probably make this chicken & creamy caper sauce with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back. (Ok maybe not, that might make trimming the chicken really hard…)
So through a long battle of trial and error, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong, and how to fix it. I figured it out so you didn’t have to! And now, you get this delicious chicken, tested and Happy Stirring approved.
Making a Roux:
Making a roux is the key to any thick and creamy sauce. And this chicken & creamy caper sauce is no exception. Before I started Happy Stirring I didn’t even know what a roux was! Other than that it’s the delicious topping on my Grandpa’s Pastitsio. And I certainly didn’t think I’d be using this simple trick so often! (And it really is so simple!) But it’s a real game changer.
A roux is easy and you only need butter and flour to get is started. My mom taught me a very helpful trick when I was making my first roux. When you start thinning out the flour and butter mixture with your water (or in this case, chicken stock,) GO SLOWLY! Don’t just dump all the liquid in at once. I mean, unless you’re looking to get a good wrist workout and whisk furiously for what feels like an entire lifetime.
Pour your liquid in slowly, and whisk until it’s nice and thick. And then continue repeating the step until you’re out of liquid. This trick has saved me numerous hand cramps (and it also helps move the process along SO much faster!)
Rinsing Your Capers
Another tip I learned from my mom and definitely through trial and error: you need to rinse your capers! I mean, I probably could have cut at least a month off of the testing of this recipe if I had just listened to my mom when she suggested I rinse the capers. The brine is SUPER strong, and it really over powers the chicken & creamy caper sauce. I know, I know, capers are in the name, so it seems weird and wrong to rinse off the delicious brine.
Side note I would 100% drink the salty brine the capers come in. I have in fact, but everyone thinks I’m weird for this so I guess maybe I shouldn’t admit that. But the salt can be toooooo much when it’s combined with the salt in the dry rub, and the salt in the chicken stock. So for my final test of this recipe I rinsed the capers, and it made so much of the difference. The chicken & creamy caper sauce came out absolutely perfect, and still not lacking any salt, I promise. You know I love me some salt!
Chicken Thighs Vs. Chicken Breasts
And my final tip when it comes to this chicken & creamy caper sauce? Chicken thighs over chicken breasts for any recipe! Not only is dark meat juicier and more tender, it’s also just easier in general for any beginner. You wouldn’t believe the amount of times that I’ve used chicken breasts in my recipes and then ABSOLUTELY overcooked them. When it comes to chicken breasts, you have almost no grey area between cooked and overcooked. You look at a chicken breast wrong and it’s overcooked and dry. And that can really put a bummer on an otherwise delicious meal.
Which chicken thighs, there’s so much more room for learning. You could cook a chicken thigh 20 extra minutes and it will still be juicy and wonderful. Imagine doing that to a chicken breast? It would just disintegrate into dust in front of your eyes. As you can see I have some very strong feelings about chicken breasts. And honestly I don’t think that will ever change, ever after I master the art of cooking them.
The equipment for the recipe couldn’t be easier. If you’re making the egg noodles (and I strongly suggest you do,) you’ll need a pot to boil water in. And then the sauce and chicken are all cooked in the same large pan. Typically we like to use our t-fal non-stick pan, it’s definitely one of our most used pans in the house currently. It’s survived many dinners, breakfasts, and grilled cheeses. It even survived that one time that I didn’t know how gravity worked (I set the pan down next to the sink after washing it but apparently it was not stable and it launched itself right off the counter onto the floor…and I have not heard the end of it from my mom!)
And then of course, the last thing, and probably something every kitchen should have is a rubber coated whisk! Otherwise you could be damaging your pans when making the roux. My mom has always been a little crazy about using metal in the non-stick pans, and she’s definitely passed that down to me I guess. So I will always have a rubber coated whisk in my utensil arsenal.
More Happy Stirring Chicken Recipes to Try:
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Creamy Caper Chicken
- 3 lbs chicken thighs
- 1 Tbsp lemon pepper
- 1 Tbsp dried dill
- 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter divided
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- juice and zest from one lemon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp capers drained and rinsed
- 1 lb egg noodles
- Trim excess fat off chicken thighs and pat both sides dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together lemon pepper, dill, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover both sides of chicken with the mixture.
- In a large pan over medium – high heat melt 1 Tbsp unsalted butter with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add chicken in skin side down and brown for 5 – 7 minutes on each side. Remove from pan, cover with foil, and set aside.
- Lower heat, and in the same pan add remaining 4 Tbsps unsalted butter and minced garlic, cook for 3 minutes scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Add flour and whisk together with butter. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of chicken stock, stir constantly until sauce is thickened. Add lemon juice and zest and mix together, bring to a simmer.
- Add heavy creamy and capers and stir together, let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Raise heat and bring to a slight boil, add chicken back into pan. Cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until internal temperature of the chicken is between 165 – 190.
- Server over egg noodles cooked to package directions.