It's a Keeper: Chicken Paillard

I'm on a roll with my old favorite Rachael Ray recipes. If it's from 30-Minute Meals 2, you can almost guarantee it is one of the recipes that I tried way back in the beginning. In other words, these are the recipes I used to learn how to cook.

When I first made Chicken Paillard, I was convinced Rachael was crazy: "Wait...I'm supposed to put warm gravy on a plate, then put salad greens in it? Ick!" But she was right. This is a sentimental favorite because it was one of the first recipes I made, but it is also a go-to dish on a night I want something easy and light. Give it a try, but keep an open mind!

I didn't make it this time, but if it's a weekend or if I'm feeling particularly determined, I also make the Roquefort, Pear and Walnut Toasts and Citrus White Wine Spritzer that fill out the full menu from this episode of 30-Minute Meals. This was also my contribution for Cate's ARF/5-a-Day Roundup. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

4 small whole chicken breasts or 2 large* [I use 4 thin-cut chicken cutlets for the two of us (use 8 for four servings) so that I can skip the pounding out step - that's what she recommends in the cookbook.]
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
4 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped and finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, a handful
1 lemon zested and juiced
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
1 sack, 5 ounces, mixed baby salad greens, available in produce section

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Arrange the chicken in a shallow baking dish and drizzle meat with extra-virgin olive oil to just coat the chicken, about 1 1/2 tablespoons, total. Combine chopped herbs and lemon zest and sprinkle over the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Using your hands, rub the chicken and coat evenly with the herbs and seasonings. Wash hands with hot water and soap. Using tongs, transfer chicken in a single layer to hot skillet and cook chicken cutlets 3 or 4 minutes on each side. [It's tempting to cook them on the grill, but you need the stuff in the pan that results from cooking the chicken to make the gravy.] Cover cooked chicken loosely with foil to keep warm and repeat with remaining cutlets.

Return pan to heat and add butter. When the butter melts, add flour to the butter and cook, stirring with whisk, a minute or 2 to make a light roux. Whisk in chicken broth. When broth thickens to just coat the back of a spoon, remove pan from heat and turn off burner. [Just remember that patience is a virtue.]

Toss salad greens with lemon juice and coarse salt. Drizzle 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil around the bowl and re-toss greens.

To serve, cover the bottom of a dinner plate with warm sauce. Top with a small pile of salad greens and 2 chicken cutlets.

*sprinkle a little water in four medium size resealable food storage baggies, place 1 chicken breast in each bag and seal it up pushing out excess air. Using the bottom of a heavy pot or pan, pound each breast until flat but not so much that it wants to bust out of the bag. Lay these down flat in your freezer. Next time you are having a hunger attack, remove your prepared chicken paillard from the freezer placing in a large bowl in the sink. Turn on the cold water over the bowl in a slow steam, you will be amazed how fast they will defrost. Once defrosted remove the bags from the water, pat them dry and with a knife or scissors cut open 2 connecting sides of the bag, and they are ready for you to prepare as per recipe directions. [That's all Rachael's instructions, not mine! I just buy the thin cutlets and call it a day.]

5 comments:

  1. that does sound kinda weird, but i think it'd be worth a try! thanks for sharing :)

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  2. The picture sells it. I'll have to give it a try.

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  3. shera - It still shocks me when I make it and like it, even after making it so many times.

    day - thanks for the compliment! I hope you like it.

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  4. Oh my goodness! This is incredibly satisfying! It's weird, but it just works! And it's fairly fast and easy. Scared and amazed a few ladies over for a visit. I had a good laugh at their apprehension, then was begged for the recipe! Thanks!

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  5. Petalpatch - so true! I remember thinking "wait, I put the lettuce into the gravy? What?" But it does work! So does her Chicken Caesar Pasta, which I was also very skeptical of.

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