Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crispy Stuffed Chicken Cutlets With Ham, Cheese and Sauerkraut

Faye of Fayefood, in an effort to help me find something new to do with boneless, skinless chicken breast for the lovely but meat squeamish Kid Cayenne, pointed me to this New York Times article from January, 2010 in which the author seeks to find out why boneless skinless chicken breast, once a mainstay of French cooking, had lost it's foodie credibility. In doing so, she discovers a number of interesting chicken breast recipes provided by various chefs who would admit (sort of) to still cooking chicken breast at home.

I was thankful, and decided to give one of the resulting recipes a try:

Crispy Stuffed Chicken Cutlets With Ham, Cheese and Sauerkraut

Adapted from Alexandra Raij

Time: 25 minutes

6 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Dijon mustard
1 1/2 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese (1 1/2 slices)
1 1/2 ounces thinly sliced ham (1 1/2 slices)
3 tablespoons sauerkraut, packed, more for serving
3/8 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 cups plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for frying.

1. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, cornstarch, parsley and garlic until lumps dissolve and mixture is slightly foamy. Set aside.

2. Brush one side of each chicken cutlet with mustard. Divide cheese and ham among 3 cutlets and place on mustard side. Top each with 1 tablespoon sauerkraut and 1/8 teaspoon caraway seeds. Arrange remaining 3 cutlets mustard-side down on top of sauerkraut to sandwich the ham and cheese. Press to seal.

3. Dip stuffed cutlets in egg white mixture and dredge in bread crumbs. (You can do this several hours ahead and refrigerate until needed).

4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place cutlets in hot pan and fry until dark brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes a side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; serve hot, with additional sauerkraut on the side.

Yield: 3 servings.

I stayed very true to the recipe, making only one modification.  I used panko crumbs (because I had them) instead of regular bread crumbs.  I prepared whole chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally, for the cutlets.  I didn't get an even thickness on both sides when I cut, resulting in some areas being undercooked when I fried them.  I finished them in a 350° oven to ensure that they were cooked through without too much direct heat contact on the stove top.

How did we like them?  They were good!  Not great.  Good.  The contrast of flavors was interesting and enjoyable but not so much that I will put the recipe into heavy rotation.  A nice change though.  Thanks Faye!


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