Showing posts with label skinless chicken breast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label skinless chicken breast. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

4 Tips for Making Italian Breaded Chicken Cutlets from Cleo Coyle

Photos by Alice Alfonsi, who writes as Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle, who likes to 
pound keyboards as well as 
cutlets, is author of The 
The skinless, boneless chicken cutlet is one of the most user-friendly ingredients for whipping up a quick, tasty meal. Slap it on a crusty roll and you've got the perfect hot sandwich. Add mashed potatoes and gravy, and you have the easiest fried chicken dinner imaginable. Grate mozzarella and Parmesan over the top, add a splash of red sauce, a glass of wine, and you'll be singing Rossini.

No matter how you choose to finish these babies, you'll want to start things off right, and today I'm happy to share my tips for making the perfect, golden chicken cutlet, the kind that delights with a crunch of breading on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness on the inside...

Tip 1 - Give the bird a whack: It’s not enough to start with fresh, thin sliced chicken breast fillets, you need to give each breast a blow (or three) with the business end of a meat hammer for the kind of tender cutlet that you can cut with a spoon. 

Tip 2 - Spice up your breading: Some cooks use panko and that’s a nice way to go. But I prefer the traditional flour, egg, bread crumb coating with a twist. Start with your favorite brand of Italian seasoned bread crumbs and boost that  flavor with additional ingredients. I add grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and dried herbs (see recipe). Optional red pepper flakes nicely spice things up for those days when I want a little heat with my meat.

Tip 3 - Oil temperature is key: If you start with oil that's too cold, your chicken will absorb too much grease and the breading may be soggy. If your oil is too hot, your chicken will burn on the outside and be raw in the center. Wait for the oil to ripple and then test it carefully by adding a few drops of water into the pan. If the water "dances" on the oil, it's ready. See the recipe below for more tips on frying.

Tip 4 - Finish with freshness: Nothing tops off a perfectly sautéed chicken cutlet like fresh squeezed lemon juice. It's also a delicious finisher for side dish vegetables like dorati e fritti zucchini (for my recipe, click here) or broccoli rabe (for my recipe, click here).

Broccoli Rabe 

Click the photo for a
free PDF of the recipe ->

(aka "dorati e fritti")

Click the photo for a free PDF of the recipe ->


Cleo Coyle’s 
Chicken Cutlets


1 ½ - 2 pounds boneless breast fillets, sliced thin (about 9 cutlets)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, beaten + 1 teaspoon water or milk

2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried parsley (if you like rosemary add, as well)

1 Tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese

Dash of garlic powder or red pepper flakes (optional)

olive oil or vegetable oil (at least 1/4 cup, see directions for more info)

1 lemon sliced thin


Step 1 - Prep the fillets: Rinse fillets in cold water. One at a time, place the fillets on a clean, flat surface. Using the tenderizing (spiky) end of a meat hammer, whack the breast a few times to flatten it even more, then flip it and repeat. Dredge each breast well in all-purpose flour and set aside on a plate.

Step 2 - Prep the breading: Pour the Italian seasoned bread crumbs into a shallow bowl, pie plate, or cake pan, and boost the flavor by adding the oregano, dried parsley, grated cheese, and (optional) rosemary, garlic powder, and/or red pepper flakes. Whisk until blended.

Step 3 - Coat the chicken: Crack the eggs into another shallow bowl or pie pan and whisk to blend, adding a teaspoon of water or milk to thin the mixture a bit. Now dredge each flour-coated breast into the beaten egg mixture, coating both sides of the chicken fillet. Allow excess to drip off and transfer to the seasoned breading. Coat both sides of each fillet completely with the breading. Allow excess breading to fall away. Keep the breaded fillets in a single layer. (I use flat plates or a sheet pan.)

Step 4 - Cook and finish: Place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in oil until it reaches the depth of about 1/2 inch. When the oil is rippling and a drop of water dances on it, you're ready to cook. Don't crowd the pan. The more fillets you place into the oil, the more you are reducing the oil's temperature and risking a greasy, soggy end.

Once the chicken hits the oil, saute two to three minutes. This is (admittedly) a tricky endeavor. You may need to decrease the heat a bit if the chicken is cooking too quickly or increase it if the oil's temp. is dropping too fast. 

When the chicken is golden brown, flip it. Cook on the other side for another two to three minutes. Hold finished cutlets in warm (200 degree F.) oven while you cook additional batches. If you're cooking multiple batches, the oil will need to be replaced. When it becomes brown or full of crumbs, pour it out, wipe the pan and start with new oil.

Just before serving (and not too early or the chicken will become soggy) squeeze on some fresh lemon juice, and...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on twitter here.
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

* * * 

Just Released: The NEW
Coffeehouse Mystery...

Join amateur sleuth Clare Cosi as she
sets out to caffeinate our nation's capital
and solve a capital crime.
It can get a girl killed...

To buy now click links for...

This culinary mystery
includes more than 25

 delicious new recipes! 

Download the free
Recipe Guide by...

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The bestselling Penguin hardcover 
is now a bestseller in paperback!

Once Upon a Grind 
by Cleo Coyle

To learn more, 

A Best of the Year Pick ~ Kings River Life 
"Fresh and fun...clever" ~ Booklist
A Mystery Guild Selection 

Join coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi as she solves the crime against "Sleeping Beauty," opens secret doors (uptown and down), and investigates a cold case that's been unsolved since the Cold War.


Wonderful recipes are also featured
in Cleo's 14th culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind including...

* Dairy-Free "Cinderella" Pumpkin Cake
* Dairy-Free Almond Milk Custard
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaway Cookies 
* Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Poor Man's Caviar
* Snow White Chocolate Mocha

...and many more recipes, including 
a guide to reading coffee grinds...

See Once Upon a Grind's 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

* * *

*Starred Review 
~ Kirkus

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

"Top Pick"  -RT Book Reviews
"...a highly satisfying mystery."
-Publishers Weekly

See Billionaire Blend's
Recipe Guide

* * * * * * 

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Book #1 of
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries,
which Cleo write 
under the name
Alice Kimberly

Haunted Bookshop 

Get a free title checklist, with 
mini plot summaries, by clicking here.

Or learn more about the books
and meet Jack Shepard,
our PI ghost by clicking here.

* * * * * *

Subscribe to Cleo's Coffeehouse Newsletter and you are entered in her weekly drawings for a free pound of coffee....

Friday, February 12, 2010

"My Valentine" Cranberry Chicken from Cleo Coyle

First a little announcement: if you are an apsiring writer or interested in the writing process, hop on over to Elizabeth Spann Craig's blog Mystery Writing is Murder and visit me there today. I'm guest blogging on the subject of "Genre Blending and Your Character's Love Life" (click here to visit). And now back to our regularly scheduled recipe...

Food is love. We’ve heard the saying for years. It’s especially true in our house because my husband and I often take turns cooking for each other, and we’ve both made and enjoyed the recipe I’m sharing with you today.

Valentine’s Day for us will be a cozy, simple affair—a couple of candles, Sinatra on the stereo, a fireplace DVD in the TV, and we’re good for romance. So what’s to eat? Well, dessert is all set. We’re baking a truly amazing Chocolate Kahlua Cake from a recipe you’ll be getting on Sunday from Dead Air author Mary Kennedy, so check back on Valentine’s Day for that fabulous dessert recipe. The main event, however, will be my Valentine Cranberry Chicken.

For obvious reasons, poultry with cranberry sauce is a combination that thrums heartstrings in most Americans, which is also why I’m sharing my Cranberry Chicken in time for Valentine’s Day. The red of the cranberries evokes the bright crimson of the ubiquitous Valentine heart, and the sweet and savory flavors are reminiscent of festive American holiday meals, yet this dish can be ready to eat in under an hour. It’s easy and economical and just as good when warmed up for a meal the next day (or even the day after).

Jeff Smith was my inspiration for this recipe, which is really just an adaptation of his. He used chicken parts, but I find skinless chicken breasts a much easier and better version (you won’t miss the skin, either). I’ve also made some adjustments on ingredients and measurements to suit my taste. This is one of those recipes that you can adjust to your own palate, too, especially with the seasonings. If you really enjoy a sweet-hot combo, for instance, really kick up the cayenne to a higher level. If you don’t, leave it out completely.

"My Valentine" Cranberry Chicken
from Cleo Coyle

Serves: 4 (or 2 with leftovers)


4 to 5 skinless chicken breasts (or 3 to 3-1/2 pounds chicken tenders)
1 cup all-purpose flour seasoned with…
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup (approx.) canola oil (for frying)
One 14 or 16 ounce can of whole sweetened cranberry sauce (or make about 2 cups of sweetened sauce from fresh cranberries)
2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 of a large sweet onion (such as Vidalia), chopped

1. Cut the chicken breasts into thirds and coat with the flour, which has been seasoned with salt, pepper, and cayenne for a little kick.
2. In a heavy, deep skillet, lightly brown the flour-dusted chicken pieces in about 1 cup of canola oil. NOTE: You are not cooking these through completely. This is a quick, light frying to cook the raw flour and give the chicken some color.
3. In a medium size saucepan, mix the remaining ingredients (cranberry sauce, orange juice, cinnamon, ginger, and chopped onion). Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
4. Pour the cranberry mixture over the chicken, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium, cover with a lid and simmer for about 40-50 minutes. The dish is done when the chicken is tender. (Chicken tenders will cook a bit faster than cut up chicken breasts.)
We enjoy this served over Basmati rice. If you don’t like rice, try plating it with a side of glazed carrots, roasted sweet potatoes, and/or freshly steamed and buttered green beans, add some crusty rolls, a French baguette, or sliced Italian bread on the side to dip into that sweet, tangy, cranberry infused sauce and you're all ready to...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

And finally...

Thank you to Ingrid of The Conscious Cat. If you’re a cat lover, you’ll want to check out her site! Ingrid awarded this blog...

The Over the Top Blog Award!

The rules state that we must complete the questions with one word answers. Here we go!

Your Hair? – Caramel Latte-ish (with a latte help from Charlotte at the salon up the block!)Your Favorite Food? – Peaberry
Your Hobby? – Writing about coffee
Your Fear? – Decaf
Something You Aren’t? – A tea drinker
Where Did You Grow Up? – outside of Pittsburgh, PA
Your Life? – Caffeinated
Your Mood? – Wired
Your Favorite Color? – Coffee