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Russian-Style Chicken Cutlets

Yield 4
So simple and so good--these cutlets are a case where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Ground chicken is often disappointingly dry, but here a bit of butter and cream keep the meat moist.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 5 tablespoons butter, 3 of them at room temperature
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

How to Make It

  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.

  4. Variation: Italian-Style Chicken Cutlets: Omit the dill. Use half bread crumbs, half grated Parmesan cheese to coat the cutlets.

  5. Menu Suggestions: Sautéed mushrooms are the traditional Russian accompaniment to chicken cutlets. Beets, glazed carrots, and mashed potatoes are other excellent possibilities.

  6. Wine Recommendation: The butteriness of the juicy cutlets contrasts beautifully with the racy freshness of an uncomplicated red wine. A Beaujolais from France or a merlot from Trentino in Northern Italy or will be perfect.

Quick From Scratch Chicken