Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chicken Francaise

Perhaps you have a profile on Facebook.  If so, like me, you receive posts from old friends, new friends, work friends, friends of friends, famous people who are not really friends but are kinda like friends because you follow them, and George Takei.  And, also like me, you have probably “liked” various home improvement, self improvement, motivational, retailer, museum, garden center, community theatre and recipe-sharing pages.

I’d like to talk about the recipe-sharing pages. I really only follow a few, because I see the posts of my many friends, acquired through the circumstances mentioned above, and I react — with the new Facebook emoticons — to the mini-videos of recipes that pique my interest.  Like the Chicken Francaise recipe that appeared on

Did you know most cooking for those videos is done on a little table-top burner?

So, the history of Chicken Francaise is a bit interesting, because the dish appears to be French but is commonly associated with Italian cuisine.  As the story goes, back during the 1939 World’s Fair, the light, white and airy cuisine served at a newly-opened French restaurant dethroned the very popular saucy, starchy, heavier, Italian classics.  An Italian chef, who was not happy about the usurping, decided to create a lighter, buttery, French-like dish to lure people back to Italian fare.  That dish was Chicken Francaise, meaning “chicken in the French manner,” made with white wine, chicken broth, garlic and butter. 

Very adaptable, like many other Italian dishes, you can substitute veal or shrimp with this classic and because it is lighter, enjoy it with a dry white wine or a light red, like Pinot Noir.  

I tweaked the recipe below a little after reading some other versions (thank you Rachel Ray!).  Also, this recipe doubles easily! I served a side of risotto with green peas.

Fairly easy, so delicious and a little fancy-pants.    

Chicken Francaise 
Adapted from

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (I used Purdue thin-sliced chicken breasts)
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup white wine (don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink!)
1 cup chicken stock
3 garlic cloves, peeled and passed through garlic press
Olive oil to coat the plan, more if needed as you proceed
4 tbsp butter, 2 of which coated with flour (the flour will help thicken the sauce)
1 lemon, cut in half.  Cut one half into slices.
Salt and pepper

Butterfly cut your breast (open the breast like a book). Place cling film on a board, add your breast spread open, sandwich it in cling film and flatten using the flat side of a meat mallet or the underside of a saucepan.  You can also place the breast in a ziplock bag before pounding or buy the Purdue thin-sliced breasts.

Crack the eggs into a dish large enough to fit chicken breast.  Season eggs with salt and pepper, give them a light beat. Chop the parsley (keep a few sprigs for garnish) and add half to egg wash.  Add the Parmesan cheese to egg-wash, mix well.

Add the plain flour to a plate.  Toss 2 pats of the butter in the flour and set aside.  To a frying pan on moderate heat, add the olive oil and the uncoated butter pats. Coat the chicken in the flour, shake off any excess flour.  Dip the chicken in the egg wash, make sure it's totally covered and place in hot oil and cook for about 4 minutes each side (depending on thickness).  Flip over once brown and cook the other side.Transfer chicken to a hot plate and rest.

To the same frying pan on full heat, brown the lemon slices.  Then, carefully add the white wine, crushed garlic, squeeze of the other half of the lemon, chicken stock, the remainder of chopped parsley, the flour-coated butter and reduce for 2 minutes on full heat.  Return the chicken to the sauce and continue heating chicken on medium heat. Plate the chicken, and reduce the sauce until it looks a little thicker (not too thick) and pour over the chicken.

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