Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Flattened Chicken with Shallot and White Wine Sauce

This recipe appeared me to me in google reader via seriouseats and it seemed like something I could pretty much throw together when I got home as I had almost all of the ingredients. This was my first experience with any kind of cutlet or tenderizing of meat, and I have to say, it was a techique i will be revisiting. It was fairly simple way to prepare the chicken, and very very tasty.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium shallot, minced
6 tablespoons chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper

Recipe modifications: I wanted to only use ingredients I had on hand so I had to make a few substitutions. The oil I used was Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I didn't have any shallots, so I used a small piece of a white onion instead, I didn't have any true chicken broth so I used a bouillon cube dissolved in water for the stock, and I used dry thyme (crushed lightly in mortar and pestle) instead of fresh thyme.

  • 1. Remove the tenderloin if it is still connected to the chicken breast. Cut the breast in half horizontally. Repeat with the other breast. You'll have four cutlets.

I highly recommend you use high quality chicken breast for this recipe. The low quality (Roundy's) chicken I was using fell apart very easily, and had a lot of ugly yellow fat that I had to cut away. I won't be using that brand again. It will make the cutting easier, as well as improve the taste.

  • 2. Tear off two large pieces of plastic wrap. Smear a teaspoon of oil in between the pieces. Lay a breast in between, then pound with a mallet or a large pot until the meat is about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the other four cutlets

I also incorporated the salt, pepper and some thyme before tenderizing the meat. Since I don't actually own any kind of tenderizer I used the bottom of my marble mortar and pestle. It worked just fine. I ended up with nice thin cutlets.

  • 3. Season the 4 cuts with salt and pepper. Pour 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, place two of the cutlets in skillet and cook for two minutes. Flip and cook for 15-30 seconds, or until firm to the touch. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Cook the other two fillets in the same way.

I was pretty dubious about the whole "cook for 2 minutes" thing, as normally chicken takes a lot longer.. but these should be thin enough where 2 minutes really does cook them through. I added more salt, pepper, and thyme at this stage.

  • 4. Remove the skillet from the heat, and add 1 teaspoon of oil and the shallot. Cook the shallot with the residual heat of the skillet for about 30 seconds. Return to the medium-high heat and pour in the white wine and chicken broth. Scrap the skillet with a pair tongs to dislodge the brown bits on the bottom. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced by to about 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes.
  • 5. Add the butter, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, to the skillet. Stir until incorporated and add more butter. Sprinkle in the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  • 6. Plate the chicken pieces and pour the sauce on top.
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I served this along side brown rice, green beans, and Albarino Burgans white Spanish wine - and the sci-fi channel's version of Frank Herbert's "Dune".

Taste: 9/10 - this was absolutely delicious, the chicken was extremely tender, and the crushed thyme really gave it a wonderful flavor. Even without the wine sauce I'm sold on this method of chicken preparation, and will explore more tenderized recipes. The white wine sauce was excellent, and would be even better with the recommended shallots and real chicken broth.

Ease of preparation: 6/10 I would say this took me an hour to fully prepare, but I was also preparing the side dishes so your mileage may vary. It was the first time I had ever worked with cutlets also, and it could no doubt be done more efficiently. Overall all though, very few ingredients are required, and most of the ones that are will be staples of most people anyway. Feel free to substitute Dune for the sci-fi original series of your choice.

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