Canadian-Approved French Chicken Cutlets

My boyfriend (the Canadian of the title) gave a hearty thumbs up to this dish.

Actually, I thought he was going to hate it.  “What were you thinking ,” I imagined him spluttering, as he spat out the first half-chewed mouthful, ”putting lemon in the breadcrumbs?!”

To my astonishment, he never even noticed.  In fact, he was so busy plowing through it (passing tit-bits all the while to our three delighted greedy cats) that I never had the fun of informing him mid-way through dinner.


INGREDIENTS – The remains of cold roast or boiled fowl, fried bread, clarified butter, the yolk of 1 egg, bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoonful of finely-minced lemon-peel; salt, cayenne, and mace to taste. For sauce,—1 oz. of butter, 2 minced shalots, a few slices of carrot, a small bunch of savoury herbs, including parsley, 1 blade of pounded mace, 6 peppercorns, 1/4 pint of gravy.


I had a piece of chicken in the fridge, practically blinking back at me forlornly, waiting for an opportunity to be turned into something interesting.  Then there was my boyfriend, actually blinking at me forlornly, waiting for an opportunity to say something interesting (despite claiming that I make him sound horrible, even though I repeat real quotes, he still manages to laugh uproariously at his own comments after they’re published).

So, the only thing I didn’t do with this recipe was to use pre-cooked chicken.  But, I think, it makes little difference – it only took a few extra minutes to cook it and put the dish together.

Mrs Beeton says to add ‘sippets’ to the dish.  Strangely, she makes no mention of these in the list of ingredients, so a bit of head scratching went on in my kitchen until I figured if Google could map the world, then it could certainly solve this small mystery.  So it turned out.  A bit of research revealed that ‘sippets’ are really just fried bread / croutons.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to make any, so I left this out.


One thing I found really interesting was using butter and egg yolk together to dip the chicken / veg chicken.  Naturally, being Mrs Beeton’s, there of course had to be butter somewhere in the recipe.  Once beaten together, I have to confess it worked really well – with egg alone, it has the tendency not to stick consistently on whatever’s being dipped, meaning that it has to be dipped again to ensure a more even coating.  Not so when clarified (melted) butter is added – it was all very uniform on the first attempt.

The biggest hit with both of us (I had a vegetarian chicken substitute) was the gravy.  It was absolutely delicious.  I have to confess that the basic gravy was my own recipe, but Mrs Beeton’s added ingredients turned it into something else altogether.  My boyfriend is normally iffy about mot of those ingredients (the length of the list of things he doesn’t like would out-do Santa’s list of gifts to distribute worldwide, hands-down), this time he made no complaint.

In a word, delicious.  In two words, easy and delicious.


French Chicken Cutlets (Recipe 927:

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