Creamy Chicken Florentine Recipe

Skillet Dinner
Chicken Florentine

If you love one skillet stovetop dinners and chicken, you will love Chicken Florentine! This restaurant quality dish is basically tender pan-fried chicken breast cutlets served in a creamy sauce containing nutrient rich spinach.

This meal is not particularly difficult to make though there are some steps involved. Even if you or your family are not fans of spinach, it’s a great way to get the benefits from the vegetable, disguised in a lovely sauce. Easy enough for a weeknight meal, this dish is classy enough for company.

While I am always hesitant to give a length of time needed to make a recipe because people have different cooking skills and knowledge and organize their cooking tasks differently, using my method for Chicken Florentine and working quickly and efficiently, this meal can be on the table in under an hour, start to finish.

In terms of equipment needed to make this meal, I recommend the following:

  • Instant-read thermometer for confirming doneness of chicken
  • Kitchen scales for weighing chicken and spinach
  • Microplane or fine grater for grating Parmesan cheese
  • Large skillet for cooking chicken pieces
  • A lettuce spinner is useful for washing and drying the spinach but not essential

When we hear of a main dish having the word “Florentine” or “à la Florentine” in its name, we know that spinach is one of the ingredients and a rich, creamy sauce is another. We might also associate “Florentine” with Florence, Italy, and assume the dish has Italian origins. However, it seems there may be a French connection, too, and whether this dish is officially of Italian or French origin, or indeed, some other, is the folklore that legends are made of.

Some stories suggest a woman by the name of Catherine de’ Medici may have had some influence over the creation of Chicken Florentine. Medici, a Florentine noblewoman from Florence, Italy, at the tender age of fourteen, married into the French Royal Family in 1533 and later became Queen of France. When she moved from Italy to France, so the story goes, she took her Italian chefs with her along with her love of spinach (and some say she even brought spinach seeds, too). Whether Chicken Florentine, as we know it today, was a dish made in Medici’s native Italy, or it was created in France after her and her entourage of Italian chefs’ arrival there, or whether it originated elsewhere and had nothing to do with Catherine de’ Medici, well…. my research has not provided a conclusive answer. Regardless of its origins, it’s a tasty dish!

When it comes to organizing the making of Chicken Florentine, I recommend starting with some pre-prep work. Wash the spinach and dry it in a lettuce spinner or by gently and loosely rolling it in a tea towel. Chop shallots, mince the garlic, grate the cheese, and measure out all ingredients. This will help the cooking part of the process go quicker and smoother than having to stop and prepare ingredients as you go.

Chicken Skillet Dinner
Chicken Florentine

Use fresh baby spinach in this recipe. You want lovely small tender spinach, not large, tough leaves. This dish presents best when small pieces of vibrant verdant green spinach are visible as shown in the photo above. I do not recommend using frozen spinach in this recipe as it typically contains a lot of water which is hard to effectively remove and which will dilute the creamy sauce and potentially make it watery.

This recipe will yield four servings so you will need 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each breast weighing about 8 ounces – so 1 pound of chicken is required. Slice each breast in half, horizontally, parallel to the cutting board. Place chicken pieces between parchment paper or plastic wrap. Then, using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently pound each of the four pieces of chicken to a uniform thickness of 1/3” – ½” thick. What you now have is what is known as escalope, thin boneless chicken pieces ready for pan frying/searing. The action of pounding the chicken thin will break down the fibers in the chicken thus tenderizing the meat. And, of course, it is easier and quicker to pan fry thinner pieces of chicken than entire thick chicken breasts.

After being dredged in flour (which helps to encourage browning of the chicken), cook the chicken pieces in a large skillet until they are golden brown and register 165°F on an instant read thermometer. This should take about 3 minutes of cooking per side of chicken (depending on size and thickness of cutlets) but do rely on an instant read thermometer to determine actual doneness. Don’t crowd the chicken pieces in the pan. Work in batches, if necessary, or use two skillets. Once cooked, keep the chicken pieces warm while making the sauce. If your oven has a specific “warm” setting, this is an ideal environment. Alternatively, tent the chicken cutlets with tinfoil.

Skillet Dinner of Chicken with Spinach in Cream Sauce
Chicken Florentine

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan, cooking them briefly, ensuring that neither shallots nor garlic scorch. Then, remove the pan from the heat and add the white wine. Any kind of dry white wine that you would drink is fine for this recipe. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry Riesling are all good choices for this dish and will add a bit of acidity to the sauce while adding depth and complex flavor notes and reducing the heavy richness of the cream.

Cook the wine until it has reduced to about half, scraping up the bits of fond from the bottom of the pan since those brown bits contain a wealth of flavor. As the wine reduces, most of the alcohol will cook off so the sauce will not have a heavy/distinctive wine taste. Add the chicken stock and seasonings. I add ½ tablespoon of cornstarch to the chicken stock to make the sauce a wee bit thicker that what it would be relying solely on the whipping cream for thickener.

This dish is traditionally made with heavy whipping cream (i.e., 35%-36%M.F.) which does make a lovely luxurious sauce. I have tested this version of the recipe by using light cream (i.e., 10%-18%MF) and found that it works quite well, too. I would not use any dairy less than 10%M.F., though, in this dish as it is meant to be a very creamy sauce.

Skillet Chicken Dinner
Chicken Florentine Made with Light Cream

Chicken Florentine is very versatile as it can be served with rice, pasta, or choice of potato. Plate the chicken cutlets and spoon the spinach cream sauce over top or, alternatively, spoon the sauce on the plate and lay the chicken cutlet on top. Enjoy!

Chicken Florentine

Ingredients:

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (apx. 1 lb), cut in half, horizontally, into two cutlets each
Salt and Pepper

2-4 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp garlic powder or garlic salt
½ tsp paprika

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
3 – 5 minced garlic cloves, or to taste
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock (mixed with ½ tbsp cornstarch)
1 tsp Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning
1 cup whipping cream (35% – 36%M.F.)**, room temperature
½ cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese
3 oz fresh baby spinach, washed and dried

Method:

Pre-prep: Wash spinach. Spin dry spinach in a lettuce spinner or gently and loosely roll spinach in clean tea towel to remove excess moisture. Chop shallots, mince the garlic, grate cheese, and measure out all ingredients.

With sharp butcher knife, slice each chicken breast in half, horizontally, parallel to the cutting board. Place each piece of chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently pound each piece of chicken to a uniform thickness of 1/3”– ½” thick, being careful not to tear the chicken. Sprinkle both sides of chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.

Mix flour, garlic powder or garlic salt, and paprika in shallow dish. Dredge all sides of each piece of chicken with the flour mix. Shake off excess flour and set chicken aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot and the oil is shimmering, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the chicken pieces, making sure not to crowd them in the pan. Work in batches, if necessary, or use two pans. Cook the chicken pieces approximately 3 minutes per side (depending on their size and thickness), or until their internal temperature registers 165°F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and place in heatproof dish. Cover. Place chicken in oven set to the warm or lowest setting or, alternatively, tent with tin foil to keep the chicken pieces warm.

Over medium-low heat, add 1 more tablespoon each of olive oil and butter to the pan and add the shallots, cooking and stirring constantly until they start to become translucent – approximately 1 – 1½ minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 20-30 seconds, stirring constantly. Do not let garlic or shallots scorch. Reduce heat, if necessary.

Remove pan from heat and slowly pour in the white wine. Return pan to stovetop and bring wine to a boil over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits (fond) on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium low and let wine reduce to about half then add the chicken stock, into which ½ tbsp cornstarch has been whisked until smooth. Add the Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning and cook over medium low heat for apx. 2 minutes. Stir in the whipping cream and Parmesan cheese until blended and cream is heated and cheese is melted. Reduce heat to simmer and cook slowly over low heat for about 2 minutes, until sauce slightly thickens, stirring frequently.

Return the chicken cutlets to the pan and heat for about 2 minutes, coating chicken pieces with the sauce. Add the spinach and cook mixture for 1½ – 2 minutes longer, just until spinach has slightly wilted.

Serve immediately alongside rice, pasta, or favorite potato side dish.

Yield: 4 servings

Note:
**Light cream (10% – 18%M.F.) may be used instead of 35%-36%M.F. whipping cream in this recipe for a less rich sauce, if desired.

You may also enjoy these other chicken-themed skillet recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Chicken Marsala
Maple-Orange Sauced Chicken Breasts

If you have made this recipe and enjoyed it and/or wish to share it with your friends and family, please do so on social media but be sure to share the direct link to this posting from my website.

Connect with My Island Bistro Kitchen on Social Media

Join the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Follow “the Bistro” on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

See the drool-worthy gallery of mouth-watering food photos from My Island Bistro Kitchen on Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/peibistro/

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/ and pin the Pinterest-ready photo at the end of this posting to your favorite Pinterest boards!

Chicken Florentine

If you love one skillet stovetop dinners, you will love Chicken Florentine! This restaurant quality dish consists of pan-fried chicken breast cutlets served in a creamy sauce containing spinach.
Course Main Course
Keyword Chicken, chicken florentine, skillet dinner
Servings 4
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (apx. 1 lb), cut in half, horizontally, into two cutlets each
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2-4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp garlic powder or garlic salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • 3 – 5 minced garlic cloves, or to taste
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock (mixed with ½ tbsp cornstarch)
  • 1 tsp Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning
  • 1 cup whipping cream (35% - 36%M.F.)**, room temperature
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 oz fresh baby spinach, washed and dried

Instructions

  1. Pre-prep: Wash spinach. Spin dry spinach in a lettuce spinner or gently and loosely roll spinach in clean tea towel to remove excess moisture. Chop shallots, mince the garlic, grate cheese, and measure out all ingredients.

  2. With sharp butcher knife, slice each chicken breast in half, horizontally, parallel to the cutting board. Place each piece of chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently pound each piece of chicken to a uniform thickness of 1/3”– ½” thick, being careful not to tear the chicken. Sprinkle both sides of chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.

  3. Mix flour, garlic powder or garlic salt, and paprika in shallow dish. Dredge all sides of each piece of chicken with the flour mix. Shake off excess flour and set chicken aside.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot and the oil is shimmering, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the chicken pieces, making sure not to crowd them in the pan. Work in batches, if necessary, or use two pans. Cook the chicken pieces approximately 3 minutes per side (depending on their size and thickness), or until their internal temperature registers 165°F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and place in heatproof dish. Cover. Place chicken in oven set to the warm or lowest setting or, alternatively, tent with tin foil to keep the chicken pieces warm.
  5. Over medium-low heat, add 1 more tablespoon each of olive oil and butter to the pan and add
  6. the shallots, cooking and stirring constantly until they start to become translucent - approximately 1 - 1½ minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 20-30 seconds, stirring constantly. Do not let garlic or shallots scorch. Reduce heat, if necessary.
  7. Remove pan from heat and slowly pour in the white wine. Return pan to stovetop and bring wine to a boil over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits (fond) on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium low and let wine reduce to about half then add the chicken stock, into which ½ tbsp cornstarch has been whisked until smooth. Add the Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning and cook over medium low heat for apx. 2 minutes. Stir in the whipping cream and Parmesan cheese until blended and cream is heated and cheese is melted. Reduce heat to simmer and cook slowly over low heat for about 2 minutes, until sauce slightly thickens, stirring frequently.
  8. Return the chicken cutlets to the pan and heat for about 2 minutes, coating chicken pieces with the sauce. Add the spinach and cook mixture for 1½ - 2 minutes longer, just until spinach has slightly wilted.
  9. Serve immediately alongside rice, pasta, or favorite potato side dish.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 4 servings

Notes:
**Light cream (10% - 18%M.F.) may be used instead of 35%-36%M.F. whipping cream in this recipe for a less rich sauce, if desired.

 

PIN THIS DELICIOUS RECIPE TO PINTEREST FOR LATER!
Chicken Skillet Dinner
Creamy Chicken Florentine

Leave a Reply