This dish is a classic for a reason. That wonderfully tender, thin-sliced cutlet, lightly breaded and sauteed, covered by a delicate lemon/butter/white wine sauce is simple, elegant and immensely pleasing to the tastebuds. For too many years it's been mass produced and butchered by catering halls for large parties and so people tend not to order it anymore. But if you make this yourself at home, you'll be in for a dinner that will have you sighing and wondering why you never order it anymore because it's just so right, so perfect, so...classic.
If you are a lemon lover like me, you will go wild for this and start wanting it all the time. There's just something about the combination of lemon and chicken that tastes so darn good! And although people think of this as a fancy sort of dish, there's really not much work involved at all, which makes it taste even better and which means you don't simply have to save it for special occasions--Yippee!!
You start by coating thin-sliced chicken breasts in seasoned flour and then egg and frying them in oil.
Once the chicken is cooked, you make the lemony/butter sauce by melting some butter and cooking down some white wine, chicken broth and lemon juice so that the sauce reduces and thickens a bit. Then you simply pour it over the cooked cutlets and serve. It goes wonderfully with pasta or mashed potatoes or anything that will help you to sop up that delightful sauce!
Each bite is a terrific combination of breaded chicken cutlet and lemony sauce--so yummy. Like something you'd expect to get in the fanciest restaurants, but right in the convenience of your own home, and that guys, is classic!
Classic Chicken Francaise
Prep Time: About 1 hour from start to finish
About 2 pounds thin-sliced cutlets (if you can't find thin ones, you can cut thicker ones in half and pound them to a 1/4 inch thickness)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Lemons slices for garnish (I used one extra lemon)
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium heat until oil is very hot but not smoking.
2. While the oil is heating up, combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or plate. Into another bowl, crack the eggs and beat lightly. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly, but shake off the excess. Transfer the coated chicken to a plate.
3. When the oil is hot, dip a piece of chicken into the egg, allowing the excess to drip off and then place directly into the hot oil. Only dip as many pieces of chicken into the beaten egg as will fit into the pan at one time and don't overcrowd. You will have to do this in batches. Fry the chicken for about 2-3 minutes per side, only turning once and removing from the pan when chicken is cooked through and outside looks golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Dip and fry the remaining chicken until it's all done.
4. Pour out and throw away the oil in the pan and wipe it clean with some paper towels. Then add the butter and heat over a low light until the butter melts and the foam subsides. Add the wine, broth and lemon juice, increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring every now and then, until the sauce thickens and reduces to about 1/2 cup of liquid. This should take 5-6 minutes. Stir in the parsley and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place chicken onto dinner plates and spoon the sauce over them. Garnish with lemon slices and serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from an old issue of Gourmet Magazine.