Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Porcini Sauce

Published March 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

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Why this recipe works:

Our goal was to come up with a chicken cutlet recipe with a complex-tasting pan sauce in under 30 minutes. We coated eight thinly pounded cutlets in flour and sautéed them in two speedy batches. A dash of soy sauce instantly enhanced the flavor of our fresh porcini without giving them a… read more

Our goal was to come up with a chicken cutlet recipe with a complex-tasting pan sauce in under 30 minutes. We coated eight thinly pounded cutlets in flour and sautéed them in two speedy batches. A dash of soy sauce instantly enhanced the flavor of our fresh porcini without giving them a noticeably Asian flavor. Fresh thyme and a shot of lemon juice were the last touches to a chicken cutlet recipe that tasted as if it had been slow-cooked in a traditional Italian kitchen for hours.

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Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Porcini Sauce

Chicken braised in white wine with porcini mushroom is a northern Italian classic. Could we use the same flavors to make a quick weeknight meal?

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Serves 4

For even more intense mushroom flavor, grind an additional half-ounce of dried porcini mushrooms in a spice grinder until it is reduced to fine dust. Sift the dust through a fine-mesh strainer and then stir it into the flour before dredging the chicken. Look for dried mushrooms that are smooth and have small pores; shriveled porcini with large holes will retain dirt and grit even after rinsing. The chicken breasts will be easier to slice in half if you freeze them for 15 minutes. To slice a breast in half, place one hand on top of the breast to secure it, hold a chef’s knife parallel to the cutting board, and slice through the middle of the breast horizontally.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. 1. Rinse porcini in large bowl of cold water, agitating them with hands to release dirt and sand. Allow dirt and sand to settle to bottom of bowl, then lift porcini from water and transfer to microwave-safe 2-cup measuring cup. Add chicken broth, submerging porcini beneath surface of liquid. Microwave on high power 1 minute, until broth is steaming. Let stand 10 minutes. Using tongs, gently lift porcini out of broth and transfer to cutting board, reserving broth. Chop porcini into ¾-inch pieces and transfer to medium bowl. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer lined with large coffee filter into bowl with chopped porcini.

    2. Combine ¼ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in pie plate. Working one piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour, shaking gently to remove excess. Set aside on plate.

    3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Place 4 cutlets in skillet and cook without moving until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip cutlets and continue to cook until second sides are opaque, 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer to large plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet and repeat to cook remaining cutlets. Tent plate loosely with foil.

    4. Add remaining teaspoon oil to now-empty skillet and return pan to medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 30 seconds. Add remaining teaspoon flour and cook, whisking constantly, 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high and whisk in vermouth, soaked porcini and their liquid, tomato paste, soy sauce, and sugar. Simmer until reduced to 1 cup, 3 to 5 minutes.

    5. Transfer cutlets and any accumulated juices to skillet. Cover and simmer until cutlets are heated through, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat and transfer cutlets to serving platter. Whisk butter, thyme, and lemon juice into sauce and season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

Shopping

Picking Proper Porcini

Like fresh fruits and vegetables, the quality of dried porcini mushrooms can vary dramatically from package to package and brand to brand. Always inspect the mushrooms before you buy.

PREVIOUSLY OCCUPIED

Small holes indicate that the mushroom was maybe home to pinworms.

CLEAN & CLEAR

Look for large, smooth porcini, free of worm holes, dust, and grit.

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