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
1 egg
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.

Serves 4.

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?


Annie said...

I have a bad food memory to share. Fried liver and onions, with canned peas and carrots and mashed potatoes. I have never eaten this as an adult and can honestly say I never will.

DancesInGarden said...

I remember city chicken as well, my parents used to make gigantic batches of it for family parties. I remember loving the seasoning on the meat, as it contained dill. Plus the tasty breading. I no longer eat veal, but still remember that food on a stick LOL.

Randi said...

My mom served us "noodles and cheese". Cottage cheese with egg noodles and lots of black pepper. Its a jewish thing. I still eat it now as comfort food.

Anonymous said...

I remember that my favorite thing was to come home from high school "starving" and on the stove would be a pot of something to go with dinner. Something like pinto beans, butter beans, blackeyed peas or mexican rice (something Mother could cook ahead). Oh, my gosh, it was a life saver.

Anonymous said...

I've been forgetting to put my name on "anonymous" lately. More "senior moments"!


Anonymous said...

Wow - City Chicken. I haven't heard of that in ages. My grandmother used to make it as a "treat" periodically - as kids we all thought we were getting some sort of gourmet special. As an adult I learned that it had once been a budget stretcher dish! But I don't think I've had City Chicken in 25 years. Thanks for the memory...I can still picture us in my grandmother's dining room all those years ago.


Anonymous said...

I was raised in Vancouver and as kids we used to go to a deli on Granville street and buy ground meat on a stick, it was breaded and fried and sooo good. I think it had poultry seasoning in it. I would like to try making it if anyone has a recipe. This is a great site.

Terry Stonecrop said...

This sounds and looks so good. I have to try it.

How long did you finish it in the oven and at what temp? I'm a fusspot that way too. Thanks.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I don't really remember. Not long, probably just another 5-10 minutes. It all depends on how much cooking they get on the stovetop.

Anonymous said...

I made the cutlets tonight, and we loved them!! Thank you. I cooked them longer on top of the stove and then double-checked with a thermometer. I did have a hard time getting the freezer-chilled chicken mix to cooperate, as it was still too soft. I might leave in in the fridge for a few hours next time.

So very happy that I stumbled across your blog. Thanks for all of your hard work and enthusiasm. I too am a cookbookophile(?), but a lazy one. So glad you share!

Anonymous said...

I love you, cookbook junkie. You just saved my dinner.

Carol said...

Poor Annie! When my mum made fried liver and onions, there was never any left over - it was too good for that. My mum's secret was to add some vinegar to the pan, just before she made the gravy. It takes away that taste that some find offensive. Of course, I still find tinned peas and carrots offensive, and just fry up some mushrooms along with the onions and bacon.lots of gravy and mashed potatoes are essential, however.

I now rate restaurants on how well they can cook liver and onions.

Unknown said...

My mom would cook up some bacon and fry the liver in onions in bacon grease. OMG I loved that as a kid and still today. Served with buttered white rice. I just wish I could get my kids to eat it lol.

Brooke said...

The only thing I had in the freezer was a pound of ground chicken, so I made your cutlets. My husband is a very picky eater and he loved them. I thought they would be too mushy for frying, but I coated them heavily with the breadcrumbs and it worked perfectly.

I also took your sidedish recipe and not having any mushrooms, made the sauce and added it to some cooked pasta. Great meal! Thanks!

Brooke said...

Oh, and I didn't have any dill so I used dried tarragon. Still great!

I confess..... said...

I made your chicken cutlets and your paprika mushrooms. It was awesome!

My family comes from a long line of picky eaters, but they wolfed down this meal.

Instead of serving the mushrooms on the side I put them on top of the chicken. I had so much gravy left over I served it over mashed potatoes, it was even better the second time around.

Thank you for a great blog, and even better recipes.

iam50fen said...

Thank you for this receipe! I have ground chicken now in the freezer and know my family will put their noses in the air if they know in advance. But if I just say 'Russian cutlets" I think they will love it before they realize what it is.

EmpressVictoria said...

I don't care for dill so I decided to use Italian seasoning instead! I also was low on bread crumbs the first time using this recipe but I did have some leftover garlic bread that I had turned into croutons in the freezer, so I thawed then crushed these & mixed them with my regular bread crumbs. I then made the patties according to your recipe'. They came out delicious! I served them with mostaccioli & marinara sauce as the side dish and whole green beans. No leftovers this night! lol

Anonymous said...

I made these last night! I found your blog when I was looking for ground chicken recipes. They were very tasty, and my kids even liked them. They called them "chicken nuggets" Thank you for your post!

Lu said...

These were SOOOOOO GOOOOOOD !!!!!!
I never knew ground chicken could be so good!!! They're even good left over!!!

Anonymous said...

I made this recipe a few nights ago, followed it exactly. I have to say it was just awful. My husband and I did our best to give it a good taste...I slathered mine in Russian dressing with a dash of Sriracha, he covered his with Creamy Italian dressing. Those additions made it edible but UGH i'd never make this again. The texture was just awful and they were tasteless. Sorry, I couldn't find one decent thing to say about them. Luckily the potatoes and carrots I made as sides were good.

weasy71 said...

I am making these right now. I expect ground chicken to be sticky but I think the milk and egg make it tooo sticky. It needs more to bind it than the soft bread and I like more flavor. Maybe some smokey paprika would work. Next time I think I'll opt out of the milk and bread and use breadcrumbs to tighten it up. Goes good with a flavor gravy!

Anonymous said...

My mom made liver completely dry, no gravy, no frying, just awful horrible stuff, maybe steamed or boiled?. I remember she said that we had to eat it because it was healthy. Never again!

Anonymous said...

Anonymoous, you definitely made this wrong then. No one else has a problem so your rude comment is unnecessary! Sorry you can't cook.

Sue said...

I made these cutlets tonight. They are delicious. Were too soft to form , will use less milk next time and I did not add the butter to the mix. Sautéed cutlets in oiL and butter and after cooked thru placed tablespoon of jar marinara on top, sprinkled with mozzarella cheese. So good. Hubby liked them just plain as well. Thanks for a great recipe.