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
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.