Chicken Cutlets with Quick Pan Sauce

Quick, dependable, rich, and rather elegant.
TIME 20 to 30 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or tenders
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
1 lemon, quartered, for serving

1 Heat the oven to 200°F. Put the flour on a plate or in a shallow bowl next to the stove. If necessary, put each cutlet between 2 sheets of sheet of plastic wrap and pound to uniform thickness; blot the chicken dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2 Put the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, turn a piece of the chicken in the flour to coat it on all sides; shake off any excess. Add the floured chicken to the pan, then repeat with the next piece; work in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan.

3 Cook, adjusting the heat as needed so that the fat is always bubbling but the chicken doesn’t burn. After 2 minutes, rotate the chicken so that the outside edges are moved toward the center and vice versa (don’t flip them; you want the same side in contact with the fat). When the bottom of each piece is brown, after 3 to 4 minutes, turn them over.

4 Cook on the second side, adjusting the heat as described in Step 3, until the chicken is firm to the touch but still a bit pink inside, another 3 to 4 minutes. To check for doneness, cut into a piece with a thin bladed knife and take a peek. Transfer the chicken to an ovenproof platter and put it in the oven.

5 Add the wine to the skillet, keeping the heat at medium-high. Let it bubble away as you stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, until about half the wine has evaporated, a minute or two. Pour in the water and continue to stir until the liquid has thickened slightly and reduced to ¼ cup, another 2 or 3 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the skillet and swirl the pan around until the butter melts; turn off the heat.

6 Remove the chicken from the oven, and if any juices have accumulated on the platter, add them to the skillet along with the ¼ cup parsley. Stir, taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, and serve with the lemon quarters.

  • Any Cutlets with Quick Pan Sauce: Try turkey, pork, or veal cutlets; or fish fillets here. Cooking times will vary by up to a couple of minutes per side, but the clues for knowing when to turn them and how to recognize doneness remain the same.
  • Chicken Cutlets with Balsamic Sauce: In Step 5, stir in 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar just before adding the butter.

  • This is a recipe for which it helps to be organized. Especially until you get the hang of dredging, set up everything before you start.

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