Chicken Paillards

Sure I like to cook French.  No, not often (time, so little time…), but, on a Sunday perhaps,  I’ll go to the French section of my extensive cookbook library and pull out one of my favorite volumes, Parisian Home Cooking by Michael Roberts, and skim through it.  I’ve made several of these very pictureapproachable recipes, but one of my favorites is the Chicken Paillards.  Actually, the author makes this with turkey cutlets, which in France as in Italy, are very popular, turkey being considered so versatile and lean (no, the stuffed Thanksgiving turkey is highly admired in Europe, but rarely attempted).  I happen to prefer chicken (also, often on sale!), so that’s what I used.  An easy yet sophisticated dish in its simplicity,  Paillards de Poulet à l’Anglaise makes a lovely dinner, appreciated by everyone, children included.  Keep them fairly thin, the chicken cutlets, a couple per person should be fine.  Of course, you must use fresh sage leaves, even though the recipe offers you the choice of dried.  Don’t go there.  While dry sage might be acceptable in the stuffing for the above-mentioned Thanksgiving turkey, it won’t do when it’s used as the only flavoring for this delicate dish.  Well, first, put on an appropriate cd, like Belinda Carlisle’s Voilà (my favorite track: Ne Me Quitte Pas), to set the Gallic mood, then place a large sauté pan on the stove.  All you really do is flour the cutlets, coat them with eggs, and quickly sauté them in a little butter and oil, really a few minutes on each side.  Then you remove them to a dish and simply make a little reduction of the pan juices by adding the chopped sage leaves and a little fresh lemon juice; it happens quickly, this delightful sauce, you’ll see it turning golden before your eyes, thickening slightly, releasing a heavenly aroma.  Et voilà, done! Just pour this sauce over the cooked chicken, have ready some good bread to dip in it.  I served it with a simple salad dressed with a vinaigrette, but you can also indulge in creamy smooth mashed potatoes (don’t use a potato masher, please! No lumps allowed here. At some point I’ll give you my little secret for flawlessly smooth mashed potatoes).  Bon Appétit!   Recipe

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