A feast fit for a priest - Chicken piccata with mushrooms
The older I get, the more I realize the value, sacrifice and contributions of the priestly vocation. Sure, most of us know the sacrifices they make as part of the vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience. But that is only the start.
For example, consider the extent to which the priest is the go-to for so many people’s problems. We don’t call priests to tell them we got a promotion, or a new car, or when we are expecting a new child. We call a priest when our soul is weighted with the loss of a loved one, when an ailing relative needs anointing, or when we are tormented by addictions or moments of doubt. They are constantly asked to give. And with fewer priests around, each of them is carrying a larger share of the load.
Don’t get me wrong, this is part of their vocation and there also are great blessings and advantages that come with the role. But I feel a good goal to keep is to make an effort to give back to a priest each time he gives to us. Did you ask a priest to pray for you or a loved one today? Say a prayer for him in return. Did the good monsignor listen to your woes and share some helpful guidance? Why not ask him how you might help out more at the parish before you leave? These are simple acts of love and charity that we can extend to our faithful servants; the priests who heeded God’s call and give their lives for us.
Something that many priests enjoy (when they have the time) is to be asked to dinner. In our family, we like to include priests for celebratory family gatherings or even invite them over for a simple family meal to give them a break from their often-challenging routine.
As with any guest, the question of what to serve emerges. Sometimes we simply ask them what they prefer to eat. Priests are often exceedingly polite and usually tell us the less than helpful, “I eat anything.” Should that happen to you, let me arm you with what we call “old faithful.” Pun intended on the ‘faith’ part. It is an Italian chicken dish that cooks quickly and is quite tasty. It’s great for entertaining and everyone loves it – even priests.
Chicken piccata with mushrooms
• 4-6 chicken breasts pounded thin
• 1 cup flour for dredging (on a plate)
• 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1-2 tablespoons butter
• 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
• 1 tablespoon capers
• 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
• ½ cup chopped parsley
• 1 to 1 ½ cups chicken broth
• ½ cup white wine
• juice of one lemon
• salt and pepper to taste
Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour to coat. Set aside. In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter. Cook the mushrooms for 3-5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and capers. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with lid. In a large sauté pan, cook the chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side over medium/high heat. Add the white wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth, sautéed mushroom mixture and parsley. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes or until the liquid is slightly thickened. Transfer the chicken breasts to a serving dish and pour the sauce (from the pan) over the chicken. Top off with lemon wedges and parmesan cheese.