Cooking On A Budget: Chicken Scallopini with Beurre Blanc

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Chicken Scallopini with Beurre Blanc


The word scallopini is a noun in Italian and it is a derivative of the French word, escalope. This means that pieces of veal or poultry are pounded down thinly, bathed in egg wash, then dredged through flour or seasoned breadcrumbs and sauteed to a golden brown.
To enhance the flavor of the dish it is commonly served with a beurre blanc sauce.  Beurre blanc simply means "white butter". A traditional beurre blanc is made with shallots, an acidic component like lemon juice or vinegar and white wine. Since I do not have shallots I will substitute with a small dices of Vidalia onion. The reason for adding the acidity from the wine, lemon juice or vinegar is to cut down on the richness from the butter and give the sauce a more balanced flavor.
I want to tell you about the key to having your chicken come out beautifully juicy and tender. Despite the fact that you get your chicken skinless you still must do some prep work when you get it home. You must remove any large sections of silver skin and any yellow tendons. If you don't you risk a not so tender piece of chicken. For this dish pounding the cutlets down helps to break down some of the connective tissue as well. The egg wash and breadcrumbs help to seal in juices as you saute the cutlets. All of this is key along with searing in butter and oil over fairly high heat for just a couple of minutes per side.

I'll be serving this dish with cauliflower as the side dish and some slices of sauteed porcini mushrooms will go into the sauce. I have one left to use and I love the earthly flavor the porcini will add to the dish. And as always when cooking with wine, purchase a wine you would drink. Never buy the grocery shelf wine! This recipe feeds 6-8 portions.

The two pieces we put into the sauce were huge and we could barely get through one. They came out moist and tender and what a wonderful flavor from the sauce. The rest as you see on the plate below we will use for another meal.

  • 2 lbs. boneless chicken (thin cutlets or breasts)
  • 1 large portobello cap
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp. cold butter
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (you may need more for sauteing)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. dried or fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine (one that you would drink)
  1. Wash your chicken under cold water and dry with paper towels.
  2. Place each piece between a sheet of plastic wrap and with a meat mallet pound the breasts until they are even all the way around. They should be around 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Take the eggs and milk and combine with some salt and pepper in a dish and whisk together.
  4. Place the breadcrumbs in another dish and season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Sprinkle both sides of the cutlets lightly with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Dredge in the egg wash, then in the breadcrumb mixture and place on a waiting platter.
  7. Heat a large skillet or frying pan over medium high heat with 2 tbsp. of butter and 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
  8. Saute each piece until golden brown on both sides and remove from the heat to a clean plate.
  9. Add more butter or oil as necessary and throw in the slices of portobello mushrooms and cook over medium high heat until slightly browned. Remove to a waiting bowl.
  10. Add in the diced onion and stir. Reduce the heat to medium.
  11. Then add in the lemon juice and white wine. Stir and scrap up all of the good bits.
  12. Let this cook down for about 3 minutes and add in 3 tbsp. of cold butter and whisk it all together.
  13. Add the mushrooms and chicken back into the pan to warm through.
  14. Plate the chicken and mushroom with some of the sauce ladled over.

When I broke down all of the recipe for just the chicken scallopini with beurre blanc the per person cost came to $1.62 per person. The cutlets were very large as you can see by the photos above. Splitting one of the larger ones yields more portions. Adding in the cauliflower and red potato as side dishes; it is $2.12 per person.
Should you choose an on sale boneless breast you can bring the cost down even further by slicing each breast in half or thirds lengthwise and then pound them down evenly. I took a short cut by purchasing thin cutlets which I will still pound down to make them even.
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