MoM Feb ‘09 Food & Wine: Cheese Stuffed Chicken Cutlets with Mustard Sauce

Are you sick of this month’s MoM yet? To be honest, I almost am… but I’m not quite there yet. So far I’m loving all of the chicken recipes since that’s typically my protein of choice, and the two selections from the Milk Chocolate article have been pretty fabulous.

Food & Wine February 2009

Last night I picked out the Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Cutlet with Mustard Sauce as my dinner of choice.

My initial concern about this was having to slice open a small pocket inside of a 1/4 inch-thick chicken cutlet, because I had never done that before. Quite frankly, I didn’t know if I was going to mangle the cutlets or not. Luckily this turned out to be much simpler than I had expected, and I was able to get into them just fine. Also, I’m not a huge fan of flattening chicken breasts for some reason (mine always look like they went through a war) so I purchased thin, hand-trimmed cutlets from my grocer.

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Cutlets with Mustard Sauce
Courtesy of Food & Wine, February 2009

Four 6-ounce chicken cutlets, about 1/2 inch thick
4 thin slices of plain havarti cheese
4 teaspoons chopped thyme
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying

So the first thing I did was get the mustard together, since it has to sit in a pot and simmer down. I threw it into a small saucepan on the back burner and let it sit while I fiddled with cutting the chicken.

In a small saucepan, boil the chicken stock and cream over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the mustard and boil for 30 seconds, whisking a few times. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

So here’s the mustard sauce. Nothing complicated… I mean, it’s just a sauce. You put some stuff in a pot, stir it up… and then it’s a sauce. No brain busting involved.

Mustard Sauce

After I started to simmer the sauce and before I added the mustard, I started cutting up my cutlets. It seemed to be the smartest time saver. Every minute counted, because I was hungry.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Using a small knife, cut a 4-by-3-inch pocket in the side of each chicken cutlet. Insert a havarti slice and spread 1 teaspoon of thyme in each pocket; press gently to close.

So here’s the job I did on putting a little pocket on the side of each cutlet. Not bad. This turned out to be a job of making it work, not making it look pretty, since the cheese is going to melt inside anyway. I located pieces that fit relatively well together inside and stuck them in.

Cutlets - Stuffing with Cheese

Now, I didn’t use fresh thyme and maybe I should have. Instead, I put about 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves into each breast. Even that tasted like it was too much. My suggestion would be to use fresh thyme or use about 1/8 teaspoon dried inside each one.

In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Beat in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Put the flour in another shallow bowl.

Egg Wash with Parmesan

So you can already gather where this is headed: egg wash + flour = breaded and fried chicken breasts.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper. Dredge 2 cutlets in flour, shaking off the excess, then coat with the beaten egg. Fry over moderately high heat until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Coat and fry the remaining cutlets.

Frying Cheese Stuffed Cutlets

They almost look radioactive, don’t they, especially when they’re in one of my signature blurry photos. Maybe the dizzying yellow color wouldn’t allow my camera to focus. Or maybe I had just been drinking too much coffee and couldn’t get my hands steady. Who knows?

Bake the chicken for about 12 minutes, until just cooked through.

Baked Chicken Cutlets

Here they are coming out of the oven. Nothing monumental here, except for a little juice and cheese that came out of the chicken during cooking. I had cut a little hole in the bottom of one of my cutlets from uneven slicing, so that’s what the deal was there.

Reheat the mustard sauce and pour onto plates. Set the cutlets on the sauce and serve.

Cheese Stuffed Chicken Cutlets with Mustard Sauce

Would you check out that FANCY PLATING? I missed the part that said to set the cutlets ON the sauce and poured it right on top. Whatever. Sauce + chicken = it all tastes the same going down.

This was really simple to make. When we dug into it, I found that it was decent, nothing spectacular. That could be because of the dried thyme, I don’t know. Our web admin was really distracted by the egg and didn’t care for it (I don’t do a lot of egg washes on our meals so he honed in on this right away). The egg didn’t distract me. The thyme, on the other hand, did. I even have fresh thyme in my fridge, so I’m not sure why I didn’t take it out and use it up. Brain fart, perhaps.

Overall, I thought it was pretty good, nothing spectacular. While I’m not sorry that I made this, it probably isn’t something that I will make again. On the F&W website, it is currently getting five stars. Something to note is that the two people who left actual reviews said they used a different kind of cheese. Maybe if I had used something other than havarti I would have felt more strongly about the dish, but in the end it was just “good”. If anyone else tries this out with better results, let me know!

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