Tuesday, August 08, 2006
A new recipe triggers an old memory
Russian-Style Chicken Cutlets
Food and Wine Magazine’s Quick From Scratch Chicken Cookbook Copyright 1997, 2001, 2004
2 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed I used a soft whole grain bread
¼ cup half-and-half I used fat-free half-and-half
1 pound ground chicken
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried dill
5 tablespoons butter, 3 of them at room temperature
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1. Break the bread into pieces. In a large bowl, soak the bread in the half-and-half until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Mix in the chicken, egg, salt, pepper, dill and the 3 tablespoons room-temperature butter. Put in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up.
2. Remove the chicken mixture from the freezer; it will still be very soft. Form the mixture into four oval cutlets and coat them with the bread crumbs.
3. In a large, nonstick frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the oil over moderate heat. Cook the cutlets until golden brown and just done, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Just to be safe, I finished these off in the oven to make sure they were fully-cooked.
I had some ground chicken in the freezer, something I don't usually have on hand. I knew there were lots of good recipes for ground chicken in my books but you know how it goes - I couldn't remember where they were. Finally the light bulb went off and I remembered this cookbook. I had looked at this recipe longingly several times when I didn't any ground chicken around but now not only did I have ground chicken, I also had some fat-free half-and-half leftover from another recipe AND I had a brand-new bottle of dried dill.
This recipe was definitely not 'lite' (oy, all that butter and oil) but it was certainly delicious. I really liked the flavor. The butter kept the meat moist and wonderful. I think this reminded me a bit of the city chicken we used to eat growing up. My memory is fuzzy since we ate city chicken when I was very young but I think it was probably made with veal - it was probably the breading that reminded me of it. For those who aren't in the know, city chicken is fake chicken made with veal, pork or beef (I think), cubed or ground, put on a skewer (the 'bone'), breaded and cooked. I guess at some point, chicken was more expensive that the other meats. Probably not by the time I was a child because city chicken was a rare treat for us. We stopped having it when the local grocery store we bought it from when out of business.
I served these with Mushrooms Paprikash (made with lite sour cream) and a simple cucumber salad that I'll probably show you some other day.
If my posting gets a bit sporadic, don't panic. I have to start cleaning and preparing for our cookout. Next week will probably be all re-runs for dinner.
Question of the Day: Do you have a childhood food memory to share?