Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chicken Cutlets with Creamy Dijon Sauce

Recipe modified by Gretchen Wilson – January 26, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published in Cooking Light, January/February 2011.

Believe it or not, on occasion I want something easy and even boring to make for dinner.  Not every day needs to be a fancy-schmancy risotto or croissants made from scratch.  No, sometimes I just want a piece of chicken with a sauce and maybe a potato or salad.  So when I was flipping through my January issue of Cooking Light and saw their long list of quick dinners, this one screamed out at me.  I’ve made Dijon-based chicken dishes before, but this one appealed to me with the shallots (garlic-onions) so I decided to give another one a try.

It certainly wasn't boring.  It was absolutely delicious - yet still easy!

My finished product:

© You Want Me to Cook?

Picture published with recipe:


Because this was in a quick cooking section, they didn’t have any pictures.  I have to tell you I was really proud of the way this dish looked and tasted.  The chicken browned beautifully and the sauce had a nice texture and a fabulous taste.  The shallots and rosemary truly added something unique to the Dijon and cream base.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – Since I managed to find a thinly cut chicken breast, I didn’t have to do the ultra-messy step of pounding it thin.  Everything is done in a single pan (be careful because you could splash it on your stove), but you still have to do some light chopping and a rosemary sprig retrieval operation.

Start-to-Finish Time: ABOUT 30 MINUTES – If you find thinly cut chicken breast, you only need to sauté the chicken for 3 minutes on a side and then make the sauce in the same pan.  You may even be able to get your work space cleaned up in this time.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – all you have to do is chop up the shallots, which can be a chore.  You have to remove the thick skin first and then chop what is left.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – There isn’t much to this recipe except mixing.  However, getting that gorgeous golden brown color to the chicken takes patience and a little TLC.

OverallSORRY HONEY, NO LEFTOVERS – usually for a simple dish like this, I’m happy to let my husband eat any remaining chicken.  This time, I will admit to hoarding the extra serving.  See, I had made some incredible horseradish mashed potatoes and let me tell you, this went famously with it.  I did not share this information with my husband.  I do not feel guilty about that whatsoever.

Recipe Information:
Time estimates are from the original publisher of the recipe, not the length of time it took me to create it.  Look for my comments below.  Nutritional Information is based on original recipe.  Any changes I make to reduce the caloric, fat, cholesterol or sodium content are not reflected in the Nutritional Information.

Prep/Total Time: None
Servings: 4

Nutritional Information
  • Calories 266
  • Total Fat 9.7g (Saturated Fat 3.6g)
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 519mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 0g
  • Fiber 0g
  • Protein 0g

Because this was a quick dish, they didn’t give a time estimate, but I think they were shooting for 30 minute meals.  This definitely can be done in that time.  Since there are four chicken breasts, you will absolutely get 4 servings out of it.  The first time I had it, I made a quick vegetable, but then the second time, I had a salad with the potatoes.  So delicious.  In all honesty, you could probably cut the portions in half and serve it with a pile of vegetables and salad and stretch the servings even further.

The calorie count and total fat looks good.  I saw in the comments that some people substituted no-fat half and half for the whipped cream, so I guess there is room for improvement.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how they got 0 cholesterol with whipping cream and 0 protein when you’re eating it with chicken. 

Changes denoted by red text

4 skinless, boneless thinly sliced chicken breasts
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
½ cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 rosemary sprig
3 tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Ingredient Notes:
Chicken Breasts – the original recipe has you purchasing a pound and a half of chicken breasts and then pounding them thin with a meat mallet between sheets of waxed paper.  I bought thinly sliced chicken breasts which, while less in weight, took out the messy step of pounding the breasts out.  If you need more chicken, there should be enough sauce for at least 2 more thinly-sliced breasts.

  • Shallots look like miniature brown onions with a thick skin.  They have a strong garlic taste and are a pain in the butt to chop.  You have to remove ALL of the skin and sometimes there are multiple bulbs in one shallot.
  • I used 2 large shallots to get the 3 tablespoons called for in the recipe.
  • You can substitute green onions (only the white part) or a small onion with a little garlic.

Rosemary Sprig – you need to use the fresh herb sprig because you are steeping the herb in the sauce, like tea.  The fresh herb will release much flavor.

Whipping Cream – I used heavy whipping cream because that’s all I could find.  It worked fine.

Dijon Mustard – there are a lot of different types of Dijon mustard, so stick with the regular unflavored kind.

Equipment Needed:
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Large skillet
Flexible spatula
Serving platter/Plate
Large spoon

Equipment Notes:
Large Skillet – don’t worry about needing deep sides, even though you are making a sauce.  Most of the liquid reduces to a smaller amount.

Flexible Spatula – I like using a flexible spatula for sautéing delicate meats like chicken.  A regular rigid spatula could tear the chicken when trying to flip it over.

Tongs – I use tongs to retrieve the rosemary sprig so not too scoop out too much of the sauce.

(1)  Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper.

(2)  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan.

Let the olive oil heat slightly.  The pan will already be hot, so it shouldn’t take long.

(3)  Add chicken; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a serving platter.

If there are little bits of chicken left behind, it’s okay.  It will give the sauce a little punch.

(4)  Add shallots to pan; sauté for 2 minutes.

(5)  Stir in chicken broth and rosemary sprig; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes.

The chicken broth may reduce a little bit (get smaller in amount.  While it is boiling, make sure you scrape all the little bits off the bottom of the pan.

(6)  Stir in whipping cream; cook 2 minutes.

Make sure you keep stirring and don’t walk away from the pan.  Cream can burn quickly.

(7)  Remove from heat, and discard rosemary. Stir in Dijon mustard. Spoon over chicken.

This was a simple dish that you probably have most of the ingredients already in your kitchen.  They tasted great with a simple vegetable medley, but fantastic with mashed potatoes.  If there was anything I’d do differently, I’d probably try to find the no-fat half-and-half to slim it down a little.  Other than that, it was healthy and delicious!

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