I decided to try this Cook's Illustrated recipe for sautéed chicken cutlets mainly for the accompanying shallot and white wine sauce, besides that I got a great new skillet and wanted to put it to some good use. It just so happened that I also stumbled across a wonderful way to make thin chicken cutlets. Forget those bone dry ones that get hammered into oblivion—this method differs in one key way: the chicken breasts are first sliced in half and then gently pounded out. The result is a thin cutlet perfect for quickly sautéing that also happens to be juicy. Not a bad deal.
But back to that sauce. Because the chicken cutlets are sautéed over high heat, loads of little bits stick to the pan (no non-stick please). When the pan is deglazed with the wine and chicken broth, those bits get dislodged with tongs and a wonderful sauce comes to life. It's almost a little too good. The sauce gets used up quickly.
Flattened Chicken Breasts with Shallot and White Wine Sauce
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Plate the chicken pieces and pour the sauce on top.