This is my adaptation of a family favorite that has evolved through cookbooks published by my parents, and my grandmother, over the past 50 years. Our chicken cutlets (aka "cotelettes" or "cotlecki") are hearty and satisfying, fun to make, and easily scale up for a crowd. The flavors speak for themselves -- dark and light meat, onion, dill, rich chicken broth, Maggi extract, heavy cream and Liquid Smoke (one of my mods).
We serve the cutlets over rice and top them with either lingonberry jam or apple sauce. The lingonberry jam is a nod to my grandmother - she was born in Lithuania, raised in Poland, and loved serving her cotlecki this way.
This is a great day/night before recipe and we love to double it to ensure there's enough leftovers.
Two out of four of my tribe are Gluten-Free, so I've provided some GF substitutes as well. —Jason Rubinstein
- Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 6
ground chicken (mix of light and dark meat)
butter (1 stick)
crustless white bread (reg or GF), cubed
fresh dill, chopped
Maggi extract (alt. GF: equal parts Worstershire & GF Tamari)
flour (alt. GF: Bob's Red Mill, if avail)
minced yellow onion
fresh ground pepper
chicken broth from bouillon cubes (note: reduce water by half to increase flavor intensity) -- double if not using heavy cream
Lingonberry jam and/or apple sauce (for serving)
- Prep the following ("mis en place"): cube the white bread (and no crusts!); prep chicken broth; beat eggs; chop dill, reserving half; measure out Maggi extract (or prep alt. GF sauce) and Liquid Smoke; have salt and pepper at the ready; mince onion.
- In a medium pot, heat chicken broth on low heat and melt butter into it. Turn off heat, add cubed white bread, dill, salt, pepper, Maggi (or alt. GF sauce), Liquid Smoke and minced onion. Mix thoroughly and smash down bread cubes. You want a think consistency without lumps. Now -- take in a deep whiff of the wonderful flavors that will be waiting for you at the finish line! Transfer mixture to a large non-reactive bowl, cool to room temperature. While the egg-bread-dill mixture cools combine the dark and light chicken meat. Tip: Use your hands or a fork to achieve the best blend. Seal the bowl and cool in the refrigerator for at least 60 mins (longer is better).
- Using your hands or an ice cream scooper, fashion meat in to ovals that are about 3 x 2 inches long, and 3/4 inch thick. I target between 1/4 to 1/3 lb per cutlet. Lightly dredge the patties in flour and set aside. Melt 2-3 Tbs butter over med-high heat in a large heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal). Fry the cutlets for 5-7 minutes until they are golden brown and springy to the touch. If the skillet gets dry, add butter as needed. Plan for 2-3 batches, and don't crowd the skillet and wipe out any burned butter or GF flour bits between batches.
- Place cutlets in a 9 x 13 baking dish or au gratin, pour heavy cream until it reaches the middle of the cutlets, and generously sprinkle reserved chopped dill everywhere. If you are dairy-free, substitute chicken broth for the heavy cream and remember to baste. Put baking dish in warm oven (200F max), baste every 15 minutes until you're ready to serve. The sauce will get golden brown. The cutlets are delicious over rice with the pan sauce drizzled over them. Serve lingonberry jam or apple sauce on the side. If making in advance (morning of, night before, etc), cutlets can be cooked slightly under temp (barely a pink center). 1 hour before serving, pull cutlets out of the fridge, bring to room temperature. Put in 200F oven; if using glass baking dish, make sure dish is not cold.