Sometimes, instead of just reading online, it's still worth subscribing to a newspaper in actual print. Like a few weeks ago on Wednesday, when the New York Times food section had a photograph of this recipe above the fold that was an entire foot tall. A breaded chicken cutlet, oozing provolone cheese between a layer of ham and tangy sauerkraut. It stopped me in my tracks. "I must cook that immediately," I promised myself in awe. And the next trip to the grocery store I procured all the ingredients.
The recipe is meant to restore the chicken breast—for a long time now the recipient of much foodie disdain—to some kind of former glory. Slicing into this dinner, I thought of Chicken Cordon Bleu. Does that mean the recipe has done its job? There's definitely a retro quality to this dish, which I actually like.
But most important? It tastes as good as it looks.
Stuffed Chicken Cutlets With Ham, Cheese and Sauerkraut
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- Dijon mustard, as needed
- 1 1/2 ounces provolone cheese (1 1/2 thin slices)
- 1 1/2 ounces ham (1 1/2 thin slices)
- 3 tablespoons sauerkraut, packed
- 3/8 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 2 cups plain bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, for frying.
If the chicken cutlets are not of uniform thickness, place them between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound gently, aiming to make 3 pairs of approximately the same shape. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites, cornstarch, parsley, and garlic, until the egg whites begin to turn foamy.
Paint one side of each chicken cutlet with mustard, then layer the ham and cheese on three of the cutlets. Spread a tablespoon of sauerkraut on top of the ham and cheese, then lay the second half of each pair, mustard side in, to make a sandwich. Seal the edges as best you can.
Dip the cutlet sandwiches in the egg white mixture, then dredge in the bread crumbs. If needed, they can be refrigerated for several hours at this point.
Heat the oil in a skillet with plenty of room for all the chicken (if not, cook them in batches) over medium-high heat until a breadcrumb tossed into the pan sizzles vigorously. Fry until dark golden brown, 2-3 minutes/side. Drain on paper towels momentarily, then serve immediately, with more sauerkraut, if desired, or a tart salad.