Chicken Cutlets (Куриные котлеты)

RECIPE

2pounds ground or minced chicken          1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

½cup light cream (Half & Half)                   1 teaspoon kosher salt

2cups fresh French bread pieces (crusts removed)   1 tablespoon dried dill

2egg whites                                                                              ½ teaspoon dried parsley

2cups Panko bread crumbs                                                ½ cup cooking oil

6tablespoons butter (softened)

For mushrooms:

3tablespoons butter                              1cup red wine

2cups petite mushrooms                       1 table

1 tablespoon corn starch

In large bowl combine cream and bread pieces. Once the bread has absorbed the cream add and mix the chicken, eggs, butter, salt, pepper, dill and parsley. Place in freezer for 20 minutes or until mixture is firm.

Roll mixture into eight balls and flatten into oval patties. Once flattened coat each side in Panko bread crumbs and let sit for several minutes. Any type of bread crumb may be substituted; however Panko is healthier and offers an ideal crunch.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with ¼ inch cooking oil and turn heat to medium/medium-high. If the oil begins to smoke, the pan is too hot.

Place no more than two patties into the pan at one time, frying for 3-4 minutes on each side, flipping the patty only once.  When breading is golden brown remove and place on paper towel to absorb some of the oil.

For mushrooms:

Melt butter in medium frying pan. Add mushrooms and fry on medium-high until mushrooms brown. Add red wine and reduce. Add water and corn starch if gravy/sauce is desired.

ORIGIN

In Russian cuisine, the cutlet or rather, “kotleta” refers to a piece of pan-fried minced meat.[1] Dating back to before the nineteenth century and originally made from wild game, cutlets were a quick and easy meal to prepare; a favorite among travelers.[2]

PREPARATION

In the preparation of this course I substituted Panko bread crumbs for original and added a table spoon of parsley. For the mushrooms which is a recipe I added myself I would suggest adding several dried bay leaves (discard before serving) and several teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce to taste.  Preparation takes about 30 minutes and cook-time less twenty-five. Prep-work requires substantial cleanup, but actual cooking does not.

I would suggest a red wine to accompany this meal, or perhaps tart lemonade for the young ones.

ADDITION COMMENTS

Rather than a piece of literature to accompany this dish I have chosen a film. An American film, but centered on Russian culture. 

Exporting Raymond is a documentary that features television producer Phil Rosenthal in a film about comedy in translation. His hit American sit-com Everybody Loves Raymond had ended and needed a new home; Russia. There was one problem… American middle-class comedy didn’t translate easily into the Russian mindset.

In America this type of dish would be translated as comfort food or soul food, and of the aspect of this food is light-heartedness and togetherness. What is more perfect than a comedy about communication and shared experienced among two very different cultures.