White: Sauteed chicken or pork cutlets with a good pan sauce

Last week was a busy one, from two appointments with doctors, an electrician visit at the cottage, lunches with my high school girlfriends in Providence and dinner in Mystic.

My cousins from San Diego came East to visit their son and daughter-in-law and I cooked pasta with pepperoni (including tomatoes, onion, garlic, cream, vodka, salt and pepper and a bit of cayenne), Caesar salad, garlic bread and a chocolate cake with fresh strawberries, little blobs of whipped cream and a dribble of chocolate syrup.

Everything worked out well if you don't count the lawn tractor that needed two tires, a wild rain storm and an early Monday morning drive to take my friend Andy to the airport to catch a flight to Florida.

On the way back, I stopped at Trader Joe's to buy olive oil, some Brie (dotted with mushrooms), crackers, some cinnamon almonds, a few packages of chicken stock and some frozen tiny peas and green beans. When I got home, I took the veggies to the freezer and, peering in (although it's not packed full any more), saw some pork cutlets and decided to make sauteed cutlets with pan sauce for dinner. If you aren't in the mood to buy yet another cookbook, try this recipe with chicken or boneless pork cutlets or veal.

Sautéed Boneless, Skinless Chicken Cutlets

From "How to Cook Without a Book," by Pam Anderson (Broadway Books, New York, 2000)

Yield: Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon oil

4 boneless chicken breast halves, trimmed of fat and tenderloin removed, and pounded with the dull side of a chef's knife until more or less even textured

salt and ground black pepper

one-quarter cup flour measured into a pie plate or other shallow pan

pan sauce (see below)

1. Heat butter and oil into an 11- to 12-inch skillet over low heat. While pan is heating, sprinkle chicken breasts and tenderloins on both sides with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.

2. A couple of minutes before sautéing, increase heat to medium-high. When butter stops forming and starts to smell nutty, arrange the chicken breasts, skin side up, and tenderloins in the skillet. Cook, turning only once, until breasts and tenderloins are rich golden brown, about 3 minutes per side (tenderloins will be done a little sooner). Remove from skillet.

Pan Sauce Possibilities

How to Make a Pan Sauce

1. Measure pan sauces ingredient in a measuring cup (liquid always totals one-half cup.)

2. Pour liquid into hot skillet once meat, poultry or fish has been removed, scraping off browned bits.

3. Reduce liquid to one-quarter cup.

4. Tilt skillet and whisk in butter or cream, and spoon over each portion and serve.

Red Wine-Dijon Pan Sauce

Liquid: ¼ cup canned low-sodium chicken broth; ¼ cup full-bodied red wine

Flavoring: 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Fat: 1 tablespoon butter

Measure broth, wine and mustard in a measuring cup. Following instruction for making a pan sauce above

Marsala Wine Pan Sauce

Liquid: 1/2 cup Marsala wine

Fat: 1 tablespoon butter

Follow instruction for making a pan sauce above

Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce

Liquid: ¼ cup balsamic vinegar; ¼ cup canned low-sodium chicken broth

Fat: 1 tablespoon butter

Combine vinegar and broth with a measuring cup. Follow instructions for making a pan sauce.

Nibbles

What did we do before the Madison Art Cinema? I feel as if I am a true regular and last Saturday afternoon a friend and I saw "Monsieur Lazhar," a terrific movie about an Algerian teacher in Montreal (French subtitles.) After, we met the friend's husband and another friend for dinner at the Ivory Restaurant and Pub in Ivoryton.

We went there because one of us wanted a hamburger. Two of us had one, and their burgers are really good. We also shared house-made guacamole (most guacs are jarred these days). I ordered a cup of lobster bisque, remembering that their bisque is yummy. It is as good or even better than it used to be - hot, creamy, rich and delicious, with a whole claw garnishing the soup. I shared a little

Ivory Restaurant and Pub

1 Kirtland Drive

Ivoryton, CT

860-526-2528

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