Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chicken Francaise

I was recently contacted by a friend who tried one of my recipes with a complaint that the dish didn’t taste as good as when I made it for her.  After a few questions, she admitted that she didn’t add salt as the recipe called for.  “If someone wants salt, they can add it at the table,” was her reasoning. 

The difference between tasteless food and tasty food is salt.”  Salt is a flavor enhancer.  When added while cooking, salt brings out the flavor in food and makes it delicious; when added to food after it has finished cooking, all it does it make the food salty.  I use kosher salt for everything except filling my salt shakers.  I believe kosher salt is less likely to make food taste salty or give you that salty burn. 

If you are under 25 years old, you probably have never heard of Chicken Francaise or other classics like Chateaubriand and Steak Diane, which have disappeared from menus over the past few decades.  Although it may have gone out of style in the 90's when Nouvelle Cuisine became popular, I continued to make this delicious dish, and it is still one of My Most Requested Recipes.

  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lb. Orzo pasta


Cut the skinless, boneless chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Place the chicken breasts between plastic wrap and pound them to 1/4" - 1/2" thick with a meat mallet.

In a separate pot, cook pasta according to the directions on the package.  Remember, pasta, like potatoes and grains, cook by absorbing the liquid in which they are cooked.  The better tasting the liquid, the better tasting your final dish.  That is why it is important to add salt to the liquid before cooking.  I am using Orzo pasta, but you can substitute any pasta to create a bed for the Chicken Francaise.

Unlike your typical dredge of flour, egg and bread crumbs, for Chicken Francaise I use flour, egg and grated parmesan cheese. 

Put flour in a shallow dish and add salt and pepper. In a second shallow dish, beat eggs, salt and a splash of water to make an egg wash. In a third shallow dish, add grated parmesan cheese.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to keep the butter from burning.  Dredge each chicken cutlet in the flour and shake off the excess.  Dip the floured chicken into the egg wash and allow the excess to drip off.  Next, dip the chicken into the grated parmesan cheese until it is completely covered.  

Reduce heat to medium and add chicken to the hot oil and butter and saute for 2- 3 minutes until golden brown.  Turn and saute the chicken until it is cooked thoroughly and golden brown, approximately 2 -3 minutes longer. 

Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer and keep warm.

In the same saute pan over medium heat, add the white wine and juice of 1 lemon and cook for 1 minute.  Add chicken stock and continue to cook for another minute. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if needed.  Return the chicken breasts to the saute pan to absorb the sauce.  Turn off the flame and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. 

If you add the butter while the pan is on the flame, the high heat would make the butter separate and look oily. By removing from the heat before adding the butter, the butter will slowly melt, thicken the sauce and make it creamy. Add chopped parsley and serve over pasta. 

For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Chicken Francaise.  Enjoy!


  1. thanks Rhonda...sounds great...i forwarded to friends and relatives in the hope someone would make if for me ;-)

  2. I was planning on making a similar dish for tonight's dinner. But yours looks a lot more appetizing. I'm making it tonight! Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  3. I have made this recipe of Rhonda's many times and LOVE it. It is easy and quick and delicious. No modifications necessary. I also recommend serving with asparagus.